Sauerbrey rules out race for Kelly's Senate seat


In yesterday's editions, The Sun incorrectly reported the position of Richard M. Cornwell, the Republican candidate for Maryland's 10th District Senate seat, on the abortion issue. In fact, Mr. Cornwell said he holds strong personal opinions against abortion but has yet to take a position on the issue during his campaign.

Ellen R. Sauerbrey, an anti-abortion state delegate who was considered the Republicans' strongest potential candidate to run against abortion-rights supporter Janice Piccinini in the 10th District Senate race, said last night she would not run for the Senate seat.

Delegate Sauerbrey, who has represented the 10th District in Baltimore County for the past 12 years, had considered entering the race against the Democratic candidate after Ms. Piccinini defeated incumbent Sen. Francis X. Kelly in a controversial primary race that focused on the issue of abortion.

The probable effect of Delegate Sauerbrey's decision was to eliminate the possibility that an anti-abortion candidate would oppose Ms. Piccinini.

Senator Kelly, a three-term legislator known for his opposition to abortion, garnered 39 percent of the vote in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary to the 61 percent won by Ms. Piccinini.

Ms. Sauerbrey told Republican State Central Committee officials a strategy session last night that while poll results showed her able to win the Senate race, she preferred to remain in the House of Delegates, where she had built up 12 yearsof seniority and could be more effective.

"If I went to the Senate, in terms of where I would be in January, I PTC would be a rookie, first-year, back-row senator with absolutely no seniority," she said.

The session at Ms. Sauerbrey's Lutherville headquarters was scheduled for GOP officials to decide whether to replace the current Republican candidate for state senator, Richard M. Cornwell.

For any other Republican to enter the race, Mr. Cornwell would have to drop out, but the 71-year-old retired farmer had indicated his willingness to do so if GOP officials thought that would be best for the party.

Mr. Cornwell has until 5 p.m. today to decide whether he will remain or drop out, said Richard Bennett, chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party. If he drops out, the GOP has until Oct. 5 to find a successor, he said.

Mr. Cornwell, who favors abortion rights, said last night that he was undecided about whether he would stay in the race. "We have to weigh all the positives and all the negatives," he said. "It's something we have to be very careful about deciding."

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., another Republican delegate in the 10th District who is completing his first term, also has been considering a run for the Senate seat.

But like Mr. Cornwell, Mr. Ehrlich favors a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.

Mr. Ehrlich was at last night's strategy session. He, too, said he had yet to make up his mind.

Ms. Piccinini has said she would welcome a challenge from any of the Republicans.

"If Ellen Sauerbrey or anyone else wanted to jump in the race," she said, "tell them to jump right on in -- the water's fine."

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