The Washington Post, May 2, 1993

 Copyright 1993 The Washington Post
May 2, 1993, Sunday, Final Edition


   LENGTH: 1372 words

   HEADLINE: Glendening's Long March Against Political Tradition;
   Run for Md. Governor Targets Regional Bias

   SERIES: Occasional

   BYLINE: Michael Abramowitz, Washington Post Staff Writer

   As his driver whisks him to Baltimore for a speech to business leaders, Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening talks animatedly
   about a subject occupying more and more of his time: gubernatorial politics.

   "People are ready for a change," declares Glendening, oblivious to the passing scenery along Interstate 95. "Sometimes, when a tide starts to
   sweep, it makes no difference what the traditions are."

   The 51-year-old executive wants to destroy one of the oldest traditions in the Maryland book -- namely, that a politician from the Washington
   suburbs can't be elected to the state's highest office.

   With more than 15 months to go before the Democratic primary, Glendening already is moving to lay the bricks for the gubernatorial campaign
   he expects to kick off formally early next year. Almost every other day brings some kind of Glendening appearance outside Prince George's
   County: a speech before the Advertising and Professional Club of Maryland, a meeting with Eastern Shore mayors, a get-together with a group
   of Annapolis neighbors, a tour through manufacturing facilities in Western Maryland.

   By his own admission, Glendening has been running for governor for more than two years, ever since he won reelection for a third term in a
   1990 landslide. But the pace of activity has picked up in recent months, with frequent forays to the Baltimore area, Montgomey County and
   Western Maryland.

   Glendening's emphasis may change depending on his audience, but his basic message is fairly simple. He promises to focus on what he terms
   the "Four E's" -- education, economic development, the environment and excellence in government -- while seeking to position himself as the
   agent of change in the race.

   Even though he has long-standing ties to powerful business interests in suburban Washington, Glendening derides two potential Democratic
   rivals, Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg and Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., as tied to "an old guard" of back-room politicians from Annapolis
   who have shortchanged education and created a fiscal mess.

   "We don't have a game plan; we don't have a vision," Glendening recently told a small gathering in the Annapolis area home of advertising
   executive Gerald T. Brady. "We're drifting from crisis to crisis."

   As he seeks to raise his profile in Maryland counties where Prince George's is likely to be viewed as if it were a foreign country, Glendening also
   is filling up his campaign treasury. As of the most recent finance reports, filed in late November, his campaign committees reported more than $
   600,000 in contributions in the bank.

   That's well short of the $ 3 million Glendening has set as his goal, but it puts him ahead of Steinberg and Curran. On Tuesday night,
   Glendening collected $ 170,000 from a reception at Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring, a glittery event that attracted several hundred
   Montgomery County business executives, civic leaders and politicos.

   With its abundance of affluent, highly educated voters, Montgomery represents a critical component of the "suburban strategy" Glendening
   and his advisers are planning for the Democratic primary. Glendening hopes to capitalize on the growth in the number of voters in the counties
   bordering Washington; his advisers are fond of pointing out that residents of the western half of the state, in or near the Washington suburbs,
   now constitute a majority of Maryland's population.

   Although his prospective rivals also have targeted Montgomery, Glendening's energetic courtship of the county's civic and business leaders
   has drawn notice from the county's political leaders.

   "When it comes to getting his act together, he is head and shoulders above everybody," said Blair Lee IV, a newspaper columnist and veteran
   observer of Montgomery politics. "Every time I turn around, Parris is meeting with another five people."

   Lee said he was particularly impressed with the lengthy list of names on the committee that put together Tuesday's event, including Crown
   Books owner Herbert H. Haft, developers Michael T. Rose and Charles S. Shapiro, and other prominent Jewish business executives and
   philanthropists. "You'd think that Mickey Steinberg would have been there first," he said, referring to the lieutenant governor, who is Jewish.

   Glendening, to be sure, has some political liabilities, not the least of which is his virtual absence of name recognition outside the Washington
   suburbs. Although he usually receives a polite reception from unfamiliar audiences, there is not the kind of emotional response for the
   unassuming Glendening that voters reserve for more gregarious Democrats such as Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

   Robert Murphy, 45, an Annapolis salesclerk who met Glendening at a neighbor's reception recently, put it this way: "I've always felt that the
   most effective politicians had a certain aura of power. I don't get that feeling from him. To some extent, I think it comes from the office, and
   obviously he's been doing an effective job in P.G.

   "Whether that translates to the state level, I don't know," Murphy said.

   Some politicians are openly skeptical of Glendening's chances of bucking traditional voter support for Baltimore politicians in statewide races.

   "I don't think he has the name recognition throughout the state," said Allen Eckel, a Curran supporter and longtime political activist from the
   Eastern Shore who attended a recent Baltimore appearance by the gubernatorial aspirants. "I think he's too restricted in Prince George's."

   The uncertain plans of other possible gubernatorial contenders, such as state Sen. Mary H. Boergers (D-Montgomery) and Baltimore Mayor Kurt
   L. Schmoke, loom as wild cards in the race. Schmoke's entry into the race would complicate Glendening's life considerably, as he could well
   cut into Glendening's strong base of support among affluent black voters and white liberals in Prince George's.

   But for the moment, Glendening is plunging right ahead, at least publicly disregarding the political maneuvering below the surface. He
   historically has had easy races in Prince George's, in part because of his strategy of raising a lot of money early and putting together a strong
   field organization. As he embarks on his first statewide race, he appears to be taking the same approach.

   A University of Maryland professor who got his start in electoral politics more than 20 years ago in Hyattsville, Glendening has accumulated an
   array of contacts throughout the state through his work in groups such as the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Maryland
   Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties. He has spent much time and energy calling on politicians associated with those
   groups to hold fund-raisers and small receptions that allow him to mingle with community leaders, seeming to prefer such gatherings to
   speeches before large audiences.

   One typical Glendening ally is Ron Bowers, a four-term commissioner in Washington County who first met Glendening in the late 1970s through
   the Association of Counties. "I go back a long time with this guy," Bowers said, adding that Glendening has made frequent trips to Hagerstown
   and other Western Maryland cities in recent years.

   A big political plus for the county executive, Bowers said, is Glendening's wife, Frances Anne, whose father, George Hughes, was a well-known
   Republican state senator from Allegany County. "People feel that this part of the state has been forgotten," Bowers said. "If you have a wife
   who's from here, there's a natural linkage. There hasn't been a natural linkage before."

   In the end, Glendening asserts, his low name recognition statewide won't hurt if he raises the necessary money for a media campaign and can
   lay the groundwork for his candidacy among the state's opinion leaders, such as the small group of mayors from Maryland's lower Eastern Shore
   he has worked with recently.

   "The person on the lower shore has no reason in the world to know my name," he said. "But the small-business community, the municipal
   officials increasingly know who I am and where I'm coming from. . . . They add credibility to your message. That's all I'm asking them to do."