Robert A. Pascal, the likely Republican nominee for Maryland governor, said yesterday Republican National Committee Chairman Richard Richards had promised financial aid for his campaign if Pascal can gain on Gov. Harry Hughes during the next month.
The announcement came after Pascal, running mate Newton I. Steers and state Republican Chairman Allan C. Levey had spent about an hour with Richards and other national committee officials to discuss recent differences.
"Everyone agreed that there had been misunderstandings in the past and that it was important that we clear the air and go on with the work of the campaign," Levey said. "I think they felt better after the meeting and so did we."
The meeting was requested by RNC officials after Pascal, responding to reports last week that the committee was on the verge of writing off his campaign because of lack of progress, had declared: "We don't need the RNC to win this race."
Yesterday, Pascal and Richards sat across from each other at the conference table in Richards' office and talked. Pascal said Richards told him the RNC still believed he could win and wanted to help. But, he added, the committee wanted to do a poll after the Sept. 14 primary to see how much ground Pascal has closed on Gov. Harry Hughes, the likely Democratic nominee. If Pascal shows solid progress, the RNC would make further commitments to the Pascal campaign.
"I don't have any problem with that," Pascal said. "I would not ask someone to contribute money to a campaign unless they believed and I believed it was winnable. I think between now and the time the poll is done, we're going to show them this thing is winnable."
Pascal added that he is now planning to make a "substantial" contribution to his own campaign that will at least equal the $20,000 the RNC committed to the campaign last spring.
Yesterday's meeting produced a promise from the committee to give the Pascal campaign the remaining $10,000 of that $20,000 now and an offer from the RNC to do a mailing for the Pascal campaign, which is struggling financially. The committee also offered the use of its facilities to tape radio commercials.
Pascal said he did not know why Richards had requested the meeting, but one source said committee members have not been pleased with Pascal all summer, especially after his comments of last week, and saw this as a final attempt at reconciliation.
Richards and RNC Deputy Director Richard Bond, who also was at the meeting, did not return phone calls yesterday afternoon.
Pascal, Levey and Steers all declared themselves delighted with the outcome of the meeting. "I must admit I was dubious going in because I didn't know how we would be received," Steers said. "But I thought it went great."
"They were very honest," said Levey. "We don't expect them to do anything for us if on Sept. 24 the campaign is where it is on Aug. 24. But we don't expect it to be."