- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening appears to be the invisible man as the campaign season for November's statewide elections kicks into high gear.
A cunning political strategist whose style and tactics have won more policy battles than friends during his two terms, Mr. Glendening has spent his waning months in office cementing his legacy as Maryland's most liberal leader in decades.
The governor is attending only one day of the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference being held this week in Ocean City, appearing yesterday to deliver a speech in which he warned of global warming. Traditionally, governors attend most or all of the gathering.
He is also preparing for the birth of a child with Jennifer Crawford, his former deputy chief of staff whom he married in January after divorcing his second wife, Frances Hughes Glendening, in November. The baby is expected this month.
With so much going on in Mr. Glendening's private life, state Democratic Party spokesman David Paulson said, it is unlikely the governor has had many requests to campaign.
If Mr. Glendening did play a role in Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's run for governor, she would "run the risk of being seen as not [her] own person," Mr. Paulson said.
Campaign staff members for Mrs. Townsend, who was busy last week barnstorming in Baltimore, the Eastern Shore and Montgomery County, said they don't know whether the governor will be asked to appear with or for her.
"Right now we are campaigning on our own," said Townsend campaign spokeswoman Kate Philips. "We'll see. There are no plans to have him not [campaign] it's up in the air."
Mrs. Townsend, who was Mr. Glendening's ticket mate in 1994 and 1998, uses the pronoun "we" when she touts the administration's accomplishments on her campaign Web site, but doesn't mention him by name.
During the 1994 and 1998 campaigns, Mr. Glendening relied heavily on Mrs. Townsend's family legacy and greater personability. He now appears to have very short coattails, at best.
James G. Gimpel, a political science professor at the University of Maryland College Park, said Mr. Glendening's record and the economic downturn are working against the state's long-ruling Democrats, particularly Mrs. Townsend.
"People have grown increasingly weary of the spendthrift ways of this administration, [and] they might be willing to gamble on someone new particularly a credible candidate. And the Republicans haven't had the reins in decades," Mr. Gimpel said.
He said deciding whether and how to use Mr. Glendening is a tough choice for Mrs. Townsend because she needs to distinguish herself as a leader but is struggling on her own against Republican front-runner Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
"Frankly, one way to do it is to debate him, but he's just smarter than she is she's going to lose," Mr. Gimpel said.
Mr. Glendening has even been discreet about stumping for his close political and personal ally, Secretary of State John T. Willis, who is challenging Glendening nemesis William Donald Schaefer for state comptroller.
Mr. Glendening's low profile could be part of a strategy to avoid further angering Mr. Schaefer, a former governor who has frequently clashed with Mr. Glendening on the three-member Board of Public Works.
But Mr. Willis, a political strategist and scholar who has served eight years as Mr. Glendening's appointed secretary of state, said his campaign has not determined how big a role it will ask Mr. Glendening to play before the Sept. 10 primary.
"He is supporting me and he said nice things about me at a young men's Democratic club picnic, but we'll see about that," Mr. Willis said. He also said his campaign manager is focusing on building a grass-roots base among voters who share his, and the governor's, "progressive" views.
Mr. Glendening's most visible role lately has been on the national scene taking pot shots at Republicans in his role as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. Last month, Mr. Glendening was on the front page of USA Today, criticizing President Bush for going on vacation.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide