From Silver Spring to Annapolis to Capitol Hill, Maryland's gubernatorial candidates sniped at each other yesterday and vied for media attention.
For Republicans Robert A. Pascal and Newton I. Steers Jr. it was the coming-out party for their newly formed partnership. For Gov. Harry Hughes and State Sen. J. Joseph Curran Jr., the men Pascal and Steers expect to challenge this fall, it was a day to put their 19-day partnership in writing while the cameras whirred and flashed. For Hughes, it also was a day to solidify his tenuous relationship with the politicians of Prince George's County by swearing in one of their own, former Sen. John J. Garrity, as a Court of Special Appeals judge.
Yesterday was, in short, a political day in Maryland with the Republicans at long last introducing a complete ticket and bringing in some big congressional names to lend support while the Democrats took advantage of two relatively routine events -- the swearing in of a judge and the filing of candidacy -- to deflect some of the limelight.
First to speak was Pascal, the Anne Arundel County Executive who is unchallenged for the Republican nomination for governor. He introduced Steers, his fourth choice, as his running mate. "The job of lieutenant governor has been an embarrassment," said Pascal, referring to the now annulled Hughes/Samuel W. Bogley partnership. "It is not because of Sam Bogley who is running with state Sen. Harry J. McGuirk against Hughes in the Democratic primary either because he is a tremendous individual."
Steers, 65, came out swinging from the retirement forced on him by two defeats to Rep. Michael Barnes. He called the Hughes/Bogley relationship, a "preposterous shindig," and added that, "Bob Pascal has already done more for Maryland than Harry Hughes has."
One hour later, while the Republicans were munching sandwiches at Steers' Bethesda home, Hughes was swearing in Garrity. The ceremony in the jammed, special appeals courtroom was watched by most of Prince George's politicians. For months they had pressured Hughes to appoint Garrity to this judgeship after reapportionment wiped out his senate seat.
Hughes and his wife, Patricia, then moved a few hundred yards down Rowe Boulevard to join Curran and his wife, Barbara. Then, in sharp contrast to four years ago, when he and Bogley filed almost unnoticed, the Democratic entourage swept into elections board administrator Willard Morris' office and watched as the two men each wrote a filing check for $290.
Hughes appeared relaxed except when the subject of Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer's appearance at McGuirk's fund-raiser on Tuesday came up. "Certainly Sen. McGuirk has been supportive of the city," Hughes said. "But as I've said time and time and time again, I think I've been very supportive of the city, too."
Hughes also fired back at Steers' claim that Pascal had done more for the state than he had. "That says something about Mr. Steers' qualification for the office," Hughes said. "I would bet he didn't cite any examples. I've known Newty for a long time . . . I think he knows better."
At Pascal's $100-a-person fund-raiser in the posh Capitol Hill club, he and his running mate received endorsements from Republican U.S. senators Howard Baker, Charles Mathias and Pete Domenici.