Campaign notes

July 19, 1998

It has been a interesting couple of weeks for Tim Mayberry, a Boonsboro Republican who is running for the office of Maryland comptroller.

For months he was considered the likely GOP nominee to run against longtime Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein in the November general election. But Goldstein's death earlier this month opened the floodgates for last-minute comptroller candidates, including former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, a Democrat.

Then last week, the Republican Party's likely gubernatorial nominee, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, announced she was endorsing Prince George's County Republican Central Committee Chairman Michael Steele for comptroller.

Bypassing Mayberry for Steele - one of those who jumped into the race after Goldstein's death - has made some local GOP officials upset.


"I think 'upset' is a mild way (of putting it)," said Vincent Dellaposta, a member of the Washington County Republican Central Committee.

Dellaposta said Sauerbrey was obviously trying to "reach out," looking for votes beyond the party's core supporters. Steele is black and comes from a part of the state that overwhelmingly supported Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening in the 1994 election.

But that strategy could hurt Sauerbrey, along with other Republicans, because she will not be perceived as a strong party leader, whose coattails are needed to carry other GOP candidates.

"We really think what Ellen has done has ruined the chances for the majority of the Republican candidates," Dellaposta said.

Mayberry, through a campaign spokeswoman, said he is still confident he can win his party's nomination and the general election because he faced tougher competition four years ago in his first run for comptroller.

Dellaposta agreed Mayberry is still the favorite to win the party's nomination.

Ficker gets jump in Senate race

Republican Senate candidate Robin Ficker showed up at a Frederick Keys game last week, one of his almost-daily campaign stops throughout the state.

He's running hard.

But unlike the 10 Republicans who hope to take out Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Ficker won't be on any ballot this year. He's running against Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who is not up for re-election until 2000.

At a time when most voters are not even focused on the contest this November, why is Ficker putting so much energy into a race more than two years away?

"The early bird gets the worm, for one thing," he said. "It's an undertaking that most people underestimate."

Ficker also said he needs a head start because he plans to spend far less money than the incumbent Democrat. Instead, he said he wants to meet as many people as possible.

As he trolls for votes, he hands out campaign cards, which are numbered. That way, he said he can track how many people he has met.

"The numbering system gives me an incentive to keep working," he said.

Since he began campaigning in March 1997, Ficker said he has passed out 230,300 of the cards, which are made by Tri-State Printing in Hagerstown.

Ficker, who gained notoriety for heckling players at Washington Bullets games, has a long history of political activism in Montgomery County, Md., where he has sponsored numerous ballot initiatives.

This year, voters in that county will decide two more of his ballot questions.

One would require approval from the voters before new taxes or tax increases could go into effect and the other would require the county to reduce property taxes to offset increases in the piggyback tax increase approved in 1992.

Candidate forum scheduled

Hood College in Frederick, Md., will host a "Meet the Candidates" event at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the college's Hodson Outdoor Theater.

Candidates running for Frederick County offices, state races and the U.S. House of Representatives have been invited to speak. Each candidate will have three minutes to address the audience.

Maryland Del. J. Anita Stup, R-Frederick/Washington, who is not seeking re-election, will moderate. The event is free and open to the public.


Each member of Washington County's legislative delegation in the Maryland General Assembly seeking re-election has been endorsed by the state's largest business advocacy group.

The candidates endorsed by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce "recognize the importance of a robust economy and job creation to the overall quality of life for Maryland citizens," said Champe McCulloch, president of the organization.

Included in the endorsements were Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington; Del. D. Bruce Poole, D-Washington; Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington; Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington; Sen. John W. Derr, R-Frederick/Washington; Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington; and Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington.

- Guy Fletcher and Brendan Kirby

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