Republican Maurice T. Turner Jr. took his campaign for D.C. mayor yesterday to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where he chided Democratic rival Sharon Pratt Dixon as an unenthusiastic supporter of plans for a new stadium.
As fans streamed into RFK Stadium for the Redskins game against the New York Giants, Turner and his aides passed out 10,000 fliers calling on Dixon to "help fight for the team that fights for us, the Washington Redskins."
Turner strategists said they hoped to capitalize on Dixon's statement last week that she would oppose any stadium construction plan requiring a major financial commitment from the District government.
Mayor Marion Barry, who has been negotiating with Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke over plans for a new stadium, later rebuked Dixon, saying the city and Cooke have reached a financing agreement that will keep the District from paying for any facility "directly or indirectly."
"People in this town are super-sensitive about the Washington Redskins," Turner said as he passed out his fliers. "The very idea that she would not be supportive of the team, and maybe let them leave town, is ridiculous."
After her comments about a new stadium sparked a small furor in the mayor's race, Dixon said late last week that if the District "has to pick up the lion's share of the freight, we simply could not afford it."
"I firmly support the Redskins," she added. "I know that everybody in Washington, D.C., essentially supports the Redskins and I'm not crazy -- I'm not going to let the Redskins leave the city."
Turner's message struck a chord yesterday with some fans, such as Robert M. Lucas, 39, a construction worker from Northeast who was decked out in an official Redskins sweat suit and warm-up jacket.
"The only bit of respectability we have left here in Washington, D.C., is the Washington Redskins," Lucas said. Referring to Dixon, he added: "If she doesn't spend money on the Redskins, she won't get elected. Not in this town."
While Turner campaigned at RFK, Dixon spent the afternoon reaching out to supporters of some of the four Democrats she defeated last month to capture the party nomination.
She started her day at Turner Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church near Chinatown and stopped by Bible Way Church, whose pastor, Bishop Smallwood E. Williams, had supported Del. Walter E. Fauntroy in the primary. She also appeared briefly at Faith United Presbyterian Church in Southwest.
Dixon also participated in ceremonies renaming the Friendship Education Center in Congress Heights in honor of her late friend Patricia Roberts Harris. Later she appeared at an event sponsored by D.C. Council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8) and her husband, publisher Calvin W. Rolark, who had supported Fauntroy, and another function sponsored by a supporter of David A. Clarke, the D.C. Council chairman who also lost the nomination contest.
French's restaurant on H Street NE, whose owners had supported council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) in the primary, was the site of a fund-raiser for Dixon last night attended by business leaders from Wards 7 and 8.