When GOV. William Donald Schaefer's term ends, for the first time in 26 years the governor of Maryland will not be a Baltimorean.
Gov. Marvin Mandel (1969-1979) and Governor Schaefer (1987-1995) were born in and elected from the city. Gov. Harry Hughes (1979-1987) was born on the Eastern Shore but was a resident of the city when he was elected.
Baltimore has dominated the state for the entire post-war era. That's post-World War I. A City Slicker has been governor of the state for 60 of the 74 years since 1920. A Shoreman was governor for eight years, a Western Marylander for four and a fellow from Towson for two. The last was Spiro T. Agnew, who was born in downtown Baltimore.
I think Kurt Schmoke could have maintained the city's lock on the mansion till the end of the century, but I guess he didn't, so the torch will be passed to a suburbanite. All the serious candidates for the nomination in both parties are residents of Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George's County and (chuckle) Montgomery County.
Sorry about that chuckle, but there has never been a Montgomery County governor. Never in the 217 years since the county was created.
Montgomery has two candidates this year. One is Republican William Shepard, the ex-Foreign Service officer who was his party's fluke nominee in 1990 and lost badly to Schaefer. The other is Democratic State Sen. Mary Boergers.
She is so unknown that many pundits say she is really angling for the lieutenant governor's nomination. Some say the favorite to win the gubernatorial nomination on the Democratic side is Parris Glendening, who is also from the Washington suburbs. He's the Prince George's county executive.
The last time a P.G. pol won the governorship was in 1869. He was Oden Bowie, a name immortalized in two of America's less celebrated suburbs. Meaning no disrespect. But Odenton and Bowie are not exactly Bethesda and Chevy Chase.
Is a P.G.-Montgomery Democratic slate possible? Could it win? I'm talking about a Glendening-Boergers ticket, or vice versa. Why not? It is less unbalanced (no pun intended) than the Schaefer-Mickey Steinberg, Baltimore City-Baltimore County tickets of 1986 and 1990.
I think the time has come for a Washington suburban team to run the state. Sounds treasonous coming from a Baltimorean, I know, but let's face facts:
There are more of them than there are of us (1,486,295 in Montgomery and P.G. versus 1,428,148 in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, according to the 1990 Census; predicted by Rand-McNally to be 1,698,000 versus 1,450,000 by 1995). They are richer ($48,000 median household income versus $30,000). They are smarter (average IQ 109 versus 95). And they dress better ($767 million spent on apparel in 1990 versus $667 million).
It's their turn.