Kramer to Be Rehrmann's Running Mate
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 11, 1998; Page D06
Democrat Eileen M. Rehrmann has chosen former Montgomery county executive Sidney Kramer as her running mate in the Maryland governor's race, sources said yesterday.
In an effort to reach out to the Washington suburbs, Rehrmann plans to announce soon that Kramer will join her ticket as the candidate for lieutenant governor, according to two Democrats close to her campaign. The announcement could come in the next week.
Rehrmann, the Harford county executive, has mounted an uphill battle to knock off Democratic incumbent Parris N. Glendening. Although her candidacy was boosted by the recent endorsement of Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, she remains a relatively unknown commodity outside her home base.
Although gubernatorial candidates are required to select a running mate, the political importance of a lieutenant governor selection remains open to debate in Maryland politics. Kramer, 72, was defeated the last time he ran for elected office, in 1990, and his profile among voters has been low in recent years.
Yet his ties to Montgomery County's business community could offer Rehrmann, a moderate Democrat, a wealth of contacts that could prove helpful in raising money against Glendening's well-heeled reelection campaign.
"He brings her a name from the state's most populous jurisdiction," said Montgomery County Council member Michael L. Subin (D-At Large), a friend of Kramer's who is supporting Glendening. "He brings her instant credibility here."
"It provides her some needed balance in a voter-rich part of the state," said James Gimpel, associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland.
Neither Kramer nor Rehrmann returned phone calls last night.
In recent years, Kramer has made little secret of his dislike of Glendening, and his negative views of the governor will fit in well with one of Rehrmann's central campaign themes: that Glendening is not trustworthy.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, the former Montgomery county executive said Glendening is "devious" and "his word is not binding."
A self-made businessman, Kramer parlayed his first business -- a carwash -- into a multimillion-dollar commercial real estate enterprise. During his time as a Montgomery County state senator and as county executive from 1986 to 1990, he was a favorite of developers and other business leaders. He was highly favored to win reelection, and was girding for a possible gubernatorial bid of his own, when he was upset by a last-minute campaign by Neal Potter.
Kramer has remained politically active in Montgomery Democratic circles, even sometimes flirting with the possibility of running for a seat in the General Assembly. He is close to County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D), although all indications are that Duncan will shortly endorse Glendening.
"He's been out of the limelight, but that doesn't mean he's been out of politics," Subin said.
Glendening campaign spokesman Peter Hamm declined to comment, saying the governor's campaign would wait until Kramer's selection is officially confirmed by the Rehrmann campaign.
Rehrmann is one of three Democrats challenging Glendening in the Sept. 15 primary, along with former Redskins player Ray Schoenke, an insurance executive, and physician Terry McGuire.
Before news of her selection broke yesterday, Rehrmann appeared in Baltimore to call for new accountability standards for health maintenance organizations; polls show many consumers believe HMOs are more interested in their own profits than their patients' care.
She proposed a bill of rights that would give doctors, not HMO administrators, the right to make key health care decisions.
Staff writer Daniel LeDuc contributed to this report.
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