Democratic candidates often face an uphill battle in Carroll County. The same is true for gubernatorial candidates from the Washington suburbs. But Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening is trying to convince Carroll's voters to try something different.
Mr. Glendening wants to be the first governor from his part of the state since 1869.
He'd also like to win in Carroll, where Republican William S. Shepard of Montgomery County beat Gov. William Donald Schaefer by 5,244 votes in 1990.
Mr. Glendening spoke to about 40 people last night at a Carroll County Democratic Club meeting at Frisco Family Pub in Westminster.
Mr. Glendening, 51, wants to transfer his successes in Prince George's County -- the third-largest jurisdiction in Maryland, with an annual budget of more than $1 billion -- to the state level. He is in his third term as county executive and takes credit for increasing jobs and family incomes.
"Maryland doesn't have what I would call a vision," he said. "I happen to have a vision. It comes from my personal values and my family values" and experience running Prince George's County with a population of 750,000.
His vision includes what he calls "the five E's" -- education, the economy, law enforcement, the environment and excellence in government.
"Education is my passion," said Mr. Glendening, an associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland. "Education is the future of this state."
He said he also would, as governor, focus on creating more jobs, protecting the environment and quality of life, improving law enforcement and making government run more efficiently.
"I know how to make government work," he said.
Mr. Glendening said he has about $1 million in campaign funds. A steering committee is working in Carroll to raise money and support.
He faces competition from Democrats Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg of Baltimore County and state Sen. Mary H. Boergers of Montgomery County. Republicans in the race are Del. Ellen R. Sauerbrey of Baltimore County, who is minority leader in the House of Delegates, and Mr. Shepard.
"I want to win by uniting everyone in the state behind a vision," Mr. Glendening said.
Many local Democratic officials attended the speech, including state Dels. Richard N. Dixon of Carroll and Thomas H. Hattery of Carroll, Howard; former Sykesville mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr.; former Carroll Commissioner Jeff Griffith; 5th District delegate candidate Ellen Leahy Willis of Westminster; Westminster Councilman Damian Halstad and Councilwoman Rebecca Orenstein.
Mr. Glendening's chief of staff, former Westminster resident John T. Willis, acknowledged that Carroll's conservative environment poses a challenge to the campaign, but said that his boss is up to it.
"There are good, solid Democrats here," Mr. Willis said.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in Carroll by 2,698 voters, said Rosemary L. McCloskey, chief of the county's Board of Elections. As of Friday, there were 31,164 registered Republicans and 28,446 registered Democrats in the county.