Parris N. Glendening made a high-powered assault into the political backyard of his leading rival for the 1994 Democratic gubernatorial nomination last night, drawing an estimated 500 political and community activists to his first major campaign event in Baltimore.
"This is just a tremendous first start right here in Baltimore City," Mr. Glendening, the Prince George's County executive, told cheering supporters who packed the stately Renaissance Sculpture Court of the Walters Art Gallery.
Mr. Glendening hoped to make a splash in the Baltimore area, where he is not well known, and nonaligned political figures in the crowd said he had achieved his goal.
Tickets to last night's event went for $100 and $500. John P. Davey, Mr. Glendening's chief fund-raiser, said the event would swell the campaign's coffers by more than $200,000, perhaps an optimistic forecast in light of the size of the crowd and the prices of the tickets. When campaign finance reports are filed Nov. 8, he said, the campaign will show at least $1.4 million raised and $1 million in the bank.
Mr. Glendening's thrust into the Baltimore area followed by two days a $500-a-ticket fund-raiser here staged by Melvin A. Steinberg, who represented Pikesville for two decades before being elected lieutenant governor in 1986.
That affair raised an estimated $300,000, which Michael G. Bronfein, Mr. Steinberg's finance chairman, said would put the lieutenant governor's campaign over the $1 million mark in total funds raised.
At Mr. Glendening's reception, politicians who have yet to throw their support to any of the three announced Democratic gubernatorial candidates -- state Sen. Mary H. Boergers of Montgomery County is the third -- seemed surprised at the size and diversity of the turnout.
"It's a strong show of support for someone from the Washington suburbs," said state Sen. John A. Pica Jr. of Northeast Baltimore. This is impressive."
State Sen. Larry Young of West Baltimore said, "If he is making an assessment of his chances in Baltimore, he should feel comfortable. . . . There's a nice cross section that I, who know some of the players in this city, can't dismiss."
Veteran lobbyist James J. Doyle Jr., who misses few fund-raisers by virtue of his job, called the gathering "a nice crowd, a great crowd."
The event also drew close allies of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, though not the mayor himself. Among them was Larry Gibson, who managed both of Mr. Schmoke's winning campaigns.
Mr. Gibson, who was not at Mr. Steinberg's affair, explained his presence by saying Mr. Glendening had attended the mayor's fund-raiser last month and that he was returning the courtesy because the mayor had another commitment. He declined to comment further.