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Teachers to hear from only 4 of 6 gubernatorial candidates

When the Maryland State Education Association holds its annual gathering in Ocean City next week and considers who to endorse for governor, it will hear from only four of the six announced major candidates.

Two of them failed to turn in their homework, the teachers union said.

Democrats Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Montgomery County Del. Heather R. Mizeur, as well as Republican Harford County Executive David R. Craig, are scheduled to speak to the influential group next Friday morning.

Unless they choose to show up without a speaking invitation, Republicans Del. Ron George and Charles County business executive Charles Lollar will be marked absent.

Debra Garner, a spokeswoman for the association, said Wednesday that the group requires candidates who want to address the group to fill out a questionnaire and return it by Aug. 23. She said the group sent out questionnaires to 12 prospective candidates -- eight Republicans and four Democrats.

Garner said only the four invited candidates returned questionnaires. Those who did were interviewed by union President Betty Weller, and their questionnaires were interview results were circulated to delegates. Garner said neither George nor Lollar returned questionnaires and thus were not invited to speak.

George acknowledged that he received the questionnaire and did not fill it out in time for ther deadline. Lollar said there was a "huge misunderstanding" and that the invitation went to the wrong person on his staff. He said he was planning to go to Ocean City nevertheless.

Neither would have been likely to receive the endorsement of the Democratic-leaning group, but the result is that any Republicans at the convention will hear from only one of their party's candidates. Craig, a former teacher and school administrator, is making education a major issue in his campaign.

Garner said that after the candidates' presentation of 10 minutes each Friday, the union's endorsement council will decide on a recommendation. She said the full assembly will vote yes or no on the recommendation the next day, with 58 percent of the delegates's votes needed to confirm the choice.


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