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  • Maryland Elections '98

  •   Sauerbrey's Running Mate Could Be Important to GOP Ticket

    By Daniel LeDuc
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, May 9, 1998; Page B04

    The leading Republican contender for Maryland governor, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, has put together a list of potential running mates that includes a Montgomery state senator, a lawyer involved in the congressional investigation of Clinton-Gore campaign finances and one of her rivals for the GOP nomination.

    Most of the other challengers to Gov. Parris N. Glendening also have begun to draft short lists of possible candidates for lieutenant governor. But the choice is especially critical for Sauerbrey, a strong conservative who has been working to moderate her image after her narrow loss to Glendening four years ago.

    Sources familiar with her selection process said she is struggling with whether to select another conservative to solidify her support among her base of voters or a more moderate Republican to broaden her appeal, especially in the Washington suburbs.

    In Maryland, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run as a ticket. The lieutenant governor has no powers under state law, except those conferred by the governor.

    Although it is unlikely many votes for governor are cast based on candidates' running mates, the choice of a running mate can speak volumes about a candidate's style and philosophy and can often help fund-raising and boost statewide appeal. For example, when Glendening chose Kathleen Kennedy Townsend as his running mate four years ago, he gained a fund-raising advantage with the Kennedy name. The then-Prince George's county executive also gave his ticket better geographic balance because Townsend lives near Baltimore.

    "I hope [voters] don't read too much into" the decision, Sauerbrey said in an interview yesterday. "I've been trying to weigh the pluses and minuses of a variety of choices and am feeling no particular need to rush the decision."

    She declined to comment on her list, but sources familiar with the selection process said it currently includes: Sen. Patrick J. Hogan (R-Montgomery); Richard D. Bennett, Republican counsel to the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating presidential campaign financing; Prince George's County GOP Chairman Michael Steele; Del. John S. Morgan (R-Howard); and Sauerbrey's running mate four years ago, former Howard County police chief Paul H. Rappaport.

    Also on the list is Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker, Sauerbrey's rival for the GOP nomination, according to sources in both campaigns. Ecker said that at this point, he is not interested in signing on with Sauerbrey. "There have been some people asking why don't I do it," he said.

    For his part, Ecker said that he has his own list of four potential running mates and that he expected to make a decision next month.

    Bennett, who ran unsuccessfully for state attorney general four years ago, is a former U.S. attorney in Maryland. He said this week that he was not aware he was under consideration.

    Rappaport appeals to Sauerbrey's conservative base, while a candidate such as Hogan, who supports abortion rights, might be viewed more favorably by moderate voters. That is especially important in Montgomery County, which likely will be an important battleground in the election.

    This week, Rappaport said he had not discussed running with Sauerbrey. Hogan said he is considering his options. "I still have some pondering of my own to do," he said.

    Meanwhile, two of Glendening's Democratic challengers, Eileen M. Rehrmann and Ray Schoenke, were seeking to strengthen the geographic balance of their campaigns.

    Rehrmann, the Harford county executive, was looking for a running mate in the Washington suburbs, according to advisers familiar with her search.

    A spokesman for Schoenke, an insurance executive and former Washington Redskins player who lives in Montgomery County, said the campaign had not developed a short list of potential running mates.

    "Obviously, we should be looking in the Baltimore area for someone to serve with us on the ticket," spokesman Chuck Miller said.

    Staff writers Robert E. Pierre and Scott Wilson contributed to this report.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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