Sauerbrey Catching Up in Fund-Raising
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 19, 1998; Page A01
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey has begun to match Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) in collecting campaign contributions, winning support from some business leaders who once backed the governor.
Overall, Glendening still leads Sauerbrey in fund-raising, thanks in part to support from labor unions, health care companies and political party committees. But campaign finance reports filed yesterday show that Sauerbrey has outpaced Glendening during the past 10 months.
Sauerbrey appears to have benefited from major Glendening policy decisions that have prompted developers, poultry farmers and other business groups to abandon Glendening, whom they supported four years ago. But the governor is hoping that those decisions -- aimed at protecting the environment and controlling suburban sprawl -- will prove popular at the grass-roots level.
The tight contest for campaign money stands in sharp contrast to the governor's race four years ago, when Glendening outspent Sauerbrey by more than 3 to 1 and beat her by fewer than 6,000 votes.
For this election, Glendening has collected $3.86 million and has $2.1 million in the bank, according to the reports, which outline campaign accounts since November. Sauerbrey has raised $2.95 million, a record for a Maryland Republican, and has $1.4 million to use in the fall campaign.
Political observers said that for the first time in a generation, a Republican gubernatorial candidate has been able to compete on almost equal financial footing with a Democratic rival. As a result, Sauerbrey will be able to nearly match Glendening in television advertising, direct mailing and other expensive media efforts that propel modern campaigns.
"They're both going to be on the airwaves, and they're going to have the resources to do what they want to do," said Brad Coker, a Columbia-based pollster. "I can't remember any time in recent history when a Republican and Democrat had those kinds of resources. That's new territory."
The gubernatorial campaign reports were among hundreds filed yesterday with the State Administrative Board of Election Law in Annapolis. They provide the first look this election year at what could be the most expensive campaign season in Maryland history. Sauerbrey's figures include money raised by her running mate, former U.S. attorney Richard Bennett. Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's fund-raising is included in the governor's totals.
Glendening, who was prohibited by law from raising money during the 90-day General Assembly session this year, is slightly ahead of where he was four years ago at this time, when he was the Prince George's county executive and was running for his first statewide office. He raised a record $6 million for his 1994 campaign but is planning on only $5 million for his reelection efforts.
Sauerbrey is far ahead of her efforts in 1994, when she accepted public financing -- and accompanying limits on private contributions -- to pay for her long-shot campaign. She has benefited in part from business money that has defected from Glendening.
At least 32 of the 1,600 donors who gave Glendening more than $1,000 last time have given Sauerbrey at least that much this year. By contrast, only two of Sauerbrey's big supporters in 1994 have given money to Glendening this campaign.
Many of those switches appear to be the result of Glendening decisions that have angered Maryland businesses. For instance, almost half of the 39 political action committees that have contributed to Sauerbrey since November are funded by builders, developers, lenders or insurance companies.
Several former supporters have been alienated by Glendening's decisions to drop his support for the proposed intercounty connector -- which would join Interstate 270 in Montgomery County with I-95 north of the Capital Beltway -- and to push an initiative designed to corral suburban sprawl. Sauerbrey favors the proposed connector, which faces serious environmental hurdles.
"As a construction company, we are working outside the state more often than we should," Caulfield said.
Albert Gipe, chairman and CEO of Gipe Associates, a consulting engineering firm in Easton, gave $1,000 to Glendening in 1994. This year, the Democrat gave $4,000 to Sauerbrey, who has made economic development and tax cuts part of her campaign.
"I've been somewhat disappointed in Glendening's tenure of office," said Gipe, who believes new tax incentives for businesses would boost the economy. "One thing he has not done well is attract businesses to . . . Maryland. I think Ellen is very supportive of attracting businesses to the state."
Glendening also has sought to regulate Maryland's poultry industry after the outbreak last summer of a toxic microbe in state rivers possibly caused in part by industry pollution. The governor closed three Eastern Shore waterways last summer and pushed legislation in the General Assembly that, for the first time, imposes fertilizer limits on poultry farmers.
Sauerbrey criticized Glendening's original bill, saying it would have placed too many mandates and overly harsh deadlines on poultry farmers in trying to reduce nutrient runoffs that may spur toxic blooms. She supported a compromise bill that gives farmers a grace period to meet the requirements.
Another company that stayed out of the 1994 race but is weighing in on this one is Allen Family Foods. On Aug. 13, the Glendening administration filed suit against the Delaware-based poultry company, accusing the firm of willfully contaminating Eastern Shore ground water with waste from a poultry processing facility in Cordova. The company has given $4,000 to Sauerbrey.
Sauerbrey sought to minimize any possible complaints about her new fund-raising success. Asked yesterday whether the financial windfall from developers and the poultry industry might create an ethical problem for her, she said, "Not if you are honest and have integrity."
Sauerbrey and Glendening both collected most of their money from Baltimore City and Montgomery County. But Sauerbrey raised far more of her money -- almost 89 percent -- from inside Maryland. Glendening collected 64 percent from Maryland businesses or residents, with the rest coming from outside the state.
Glendening is still receiving substantial business support, including thousands of dollars from national companies such as Walt Disney, Land Rover North America and Toyota Motor Sales USA. Moreover, many of the decisions that angered Maryland business leaders have translated into deep support from traditional Democratic constituencies.
During his term, Glendening voluntarily gave state employees collective bargaining rights, a move that infuriated business leaders. Glendening's report shows that public-employee unions from as far away as Illinois have given thousands of dollars to the governor's reelection campaign. Various affiliates of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a major proponent and beneficiary of the collective bargaining decision, gave Glendening at least $9,500.
Glendening "is a guy who pretty consistently supported the collective bargaining process in good and bad times," said Raymond J. McInerney, political coordinator for AFSCME of Maryland.
Glendening also has collected thousands of dollars from the health care industry, which gave more to Maryland campaigns than did any other sector of the economy four years ago.
"We are very, very pleased with the extraordinary range of support, from $10 donors to small business, large business, labor and environmentalists," Glendening said yesterday.
Sauerbrey's GOP rival, Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker, has raised $254,511 for his campaign. His reports show a balance of $25,429. Terry McGuire, an Anne Arundel doctor running for the Democratic nomination, has collected $561,023 and has $449,914 in the bank.
Staff writers Donald P. Baker and Metro Resource Directors Margot Williams and Bridget Roeber contributed to this report.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company