Schoenke Selling Insurance Firm
By Charles Babington
Ray Schoenke, a Maryland candidate for governor, said yesterday that he is selling his insurance brokerage business and devoting himself full time to his bid to wrest the Democratic nomination from Gov. Parris N. Glendening in the party's Sept. 15 primary.
Schoenke, a former Washington Redskins lineman, said he has signed a letter of intent to sell his company to Clark/Bardes Inc., a similar firm based in Dallas. He would not disclose the terms of the deal, which he said should be closed soon.
"The completion of this transaction also means that I will be free from distractions and can focus all my energies as a candidate for governor," said Schoenke, 56. The 35 employees of Germantown-based Schoenke & Associates Corp. will retain their jobs, he said.
He said potential buyers have approached him in recent years, and he chose Clark/Bardes because he believes it will best serve his clients and employees.
Schoenke, making his first bid for elected office, said the sale does not change his plan to spend about $2 million of his own money in the governor's race. The main benefit to his campaign, he said, "is really the mental part." Running for office and negotiating the company's sale, he said, "has been very stressful."
Schoenke acknowledged that he is "the dark horse, the long shot" in the governor's race. Also bidding to upend Glendening in the Democratic primary are Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann and Davidsonville physician Terry McGuire. Republican contenders are Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker and 1994 nominee Ellen R. Sauerbrey.
Schoenke has emphasized his business experience. The sale of his company, he said, brings a successful conclusion to the enterprise he started 20 years ago. The sale agreement includes two affiliated companies: Schoenke & Associates Securities Corp. and Schoenke & Associates of Hawaii, L.P.
The Schoenke firm specializes in insurance for executive compensation plans similar to what is provided as part of pension plans.
Schoenke said he now will turn his attention to meeting the July 6 deadline for picking a running mate.
One name being mentioned is former Baltimore City Council member Mary Pat Clarke, who ran a spirited challenge to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke in the 1995 Democratic primary. Schoenke confirmed that Clarke is under consideration.
"She's a very capable person and has an outstanding reputation," he said.
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