Rehrmann Leaves Md. Governor Race
Washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Web posted Monday, August 10, 1998;
3:45 p.m. EDT Eileen M. Rehrmann today ended her bid for the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nomination, saying she didn't have enough money to win.
"Simply put, I do not have the sufficient dollars to do the TV I need to do to get our message out to the voters," the Harford County executive told scores of campaign supporters and media members gathered at her campaign office in Laurel. At her side stood her running mate Sidney Kramer, a former Montgomery County executive.
Her departure ends the most serious challenge to Gov. Parris N. Glendening's attempt to recapture the nomination, and one that highlighted some cracks within the party. It also all but guarantees a November rematch between Glendening and the Republican front-runner, 1994 nominee Ellen Sauerbrey.
In an afternoon press conference, the governor called for all Democrats to unite and keep the seat in the party’s hands. Sauerbrey’s press spokesman declared it an opportunity for the GOP hopeful "to reach out to disaffected Democrats."
But Rehrmann remained mum on her where her support would fall. She said she wouldn’t decide until after the primary.
Her name will remain on the September ballot and she said she intends to vote for herself.
"I believe my message is just as compelling today as it was when we started," she said, repeating that her priority was and will continue to be addressing what she calls "a crisis" in education.
But it was a message that struggled to win support. Just six weeks before the Sept. 15 primary, polls showed Glendening far ahead of Rehrmann and the lesser-known Terry McGuire. On the GOP side, Sauerbrey was far out in front of Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker.
Rehrmann's campaign drew controversial endorsements from Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke and Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry, but couldn't muster the funds to match the incumbent. She decided this weekend that continuing her campaign would be unfair to her supporters and to those who have pledged money.
She declined to detail the state of her campaign finances, but told reporters said she would have needed another $1 million to effectively compete with television ads. She also lamented a lack of televised debates among the candidates, which she said prevented voters from getting to know her or her message.
She made the announcement standing on a podium framed with large photos of her and Kramer. As she spoke, some campaign staffers stood on their desks to watch from behind partitions. She and Kramer each spoke for about 10 minutes, then fielded questions. She then worked the room, thanking and hugging some supporters and workers.
Rehrmann said she had not spoken with Glendening but had shared her decision with Schmoke and Curry, both of whom she praised for having the "great courage" to support her.
"They endorsed Eileen Rehrmann because they believed it was the right thing to do," she said.
Rehrmann dismissed a question that suggested her support for slot machines at racetracks was the defining issue in her campaign. "Our defining issue ... is our crisis in education," she said. She backed a proposal to use slots to generate as much as $1 billion in education funds. Glendening has adamantly opposed slots at racetracks.
Still, she said she wouldn’t have changed anything about her campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company