Baltimore Councilwoman Jacqueline F. McLean, D-2nd, captured the Democratic nomination for city comptroller last night, outpacing a fellow council member and trouncing the city's register of wills for the chance to be the city's next fiscal watchdog.
Mrs. McLean, owner of a Federal Hill travel agency and a two-term councilwoman, won with 49 percent of the vote. Councilman Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III, D-3rd, trailed with 34 percent, and Register of Wills Mary W. Conaway received only 17 percent.
"Obviously our hard work and determination paid off, and I am extremely, extremely pleased," Mrs. McLean told her supporters a celebration party at the Governor's Club on Eutaw Place.
Mrs. McLean, 47, will face the lone Republican contender Marshall W. Jones Jr., in the general election Nov. 5 to fill the job held by Hyman A. Pressman, who is retiring after nearly three decades in office. The comptroller sits on the city's powerful Board of Estimates and the pension and finance boards while overseeing Baltimore's municipal auditors, real estate holdings and harbor master's office.
Mrs. McLean said last night that the comptroller's office should be more responsive to community needs and seek input from neighborhood leaders.
When asked how she intended to change the office, she quipped, "I'm going to redecorate."
In the last week of the campaign, television polls showed Mrs. McLean and Mr. Landers in a virtual dead heat. She tried to edge out her competition with paid television commercials that aired earlier this week. Last night, she credited those ads, as well as radio spots and "knocking on doors," with putting her over the top.
Mr. Landers was hoping that his endorsement by The Sun and The Evening Sun and the apparent closeness of the race would give him the boost he needed. By summer's end, Mr. Landers had spent all but $2,500 of the $69,000 he raised.
"There's no question we were outspent. I don't think we were outworked. There were some [political] organizations whose support was bought," said Mr. Landers, who added that he felt he was most hurt in the southeast and southwest parts of the city. "I guess I'll have to find a job."
Mrs. Conaway, 48, who emphasized her administrative experience as register of wills, relied on the support of organized labor and area ministers.
From the beginning, Mr. Landers, 40, sought to broaden his community support and capitalize on his ties to Baltimore's neighborhoods, especially the ones he served in the 3rd District for eight years. He began the campaign with the endorsement of Mr. Pressman, a fixture in city's politics since his election in 1963, and he touted it wherever he could.
Mrs. McLean, who promoted herself as a successful businesswoman with experience, pulled together political veterans to help in her effort to win the Democratic nomination.
To ensure citywide support, she forged alliances with two of the majority white political organizations in Southeast and South Baltimore, which carried her on their primary election ballots. For nTC example, she gave at least $3,000 of her campaign money to two South Baltimore clubs for help at the polls.
Mrs. McLean also enticed Morton C. Pollack to leave his condominium in Key Biscayne, Fla., and spend the last four weeks of the campaign in Baltimore, resurrecting his late father's old political organization, the Trenton Democratic Club, and working for her in the predominantly Jewish and high-voting precincts of Northwest Baltimore.