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Ex-Redskin Announces Run for Governor

By Amy Argetsinger
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 21, 1998; Page B04

Former Washington Redskins offensive guard Ray Schoenke officially announced his candidacy for Maryland governor yesterday, the third Democrat to challenge Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his party's nomination.

Speaking to reporters and supporters outside the State House in Annapolis, Schoenke offered himself as a "viable alternative" for Maryland voters but offered few specific policy goals.

"I have never been willing to sit on the sidelines and point out how a job can be done better," he said. "If you are not willing to get into the arena, you have no right to complain. And I'm not happy with the status quo in our state."

The insurance executive from Laytonsville has never run for public office before, and few observers give him a serious chance of winning. But with a pledge to spend $2 million of his own fortune, many say he could buy enough television advertising to cause trouble for Glendening in a crowded race.

Also vying for the Democratic nomination are Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann and Davidsonville physician Terry McGuire. Glendening's 1994 general election opponent, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, will face Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker in the Republican primary in September.

Schoenke touted his personal success in business and charged that under Glendening's leadership, Maryland has failed to keep up with other states during a nationwide economic boom.

He also lashed out at the governor's decision to fund a $200 million stadium to lure the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and criticized Glendening's role in helping aides secure generous pensions during his last days as Prince George's county executive.

But other than promising "safe homes, safe schools, safe streets and a vibrant economy," Schoenke was vague about his platform. When questioned, he said he would like to push for smaller classes in public schools and for a stricter disciplinary code to remove disruptive students from classes.

Glendening's campaign chairman, former Maryland congressman Michael D. Barnes, said he was disappointed by Schoenke's "almost totally negative campaign."

"The state that he describes is not the Maryland I'm living in," Barnes said. "Governor Glendening and Lieutenant Governor [Kathleen Kennedy] Townsend have a terrific record of success in moving Maryland to the top rank of states in almost every category."

Barnes said that he doesn't believe Schoenke poses a serious threat to Glendening's bid for renomination and reelection but that he regrets having "to fend off these kind of potshots."

Schoenke, who was born in Hawaii and raised there and in Texas, played for the Redskins for 10 years before retiring in 1976. A longtime contributor to Democratic causes, Schoenke said he hopes to raise as much money from outside sources as he plans to give to his own campaign. "I want people involved in my candidacy," he said.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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