Lt. Gov. Melvin A. "Mickey" Steinberg put a shot over the bow of the Democratic front-runner for governor yesterday, calling Parris N. Glendening "the $300 million man" because of his promises to spend more for state programs.
Mr. Steinberg, who has fallen sharply from first to fourth place among candidates in the Democratic primary, criticized Mr. Glendening, the Prince George's County executive, at a news conference at the Steinberg campaign headquarters in Owings Mills.
The lieutenant governor warned of the "devastating" $1 billion deficit the state faces over the next five years, calling it an "impending fiscal nightmare."
"And to make matters worse, we have one candidate for 'D governor now openly promising new spending that will add another $300 million to this deficit," he said, without naming Mr. -- Glendening. "No, we do not need any '300 Million Dollar Man' becoming governor. We need a governor who knows how to address this fiscal nightmare and solve it without burdening this or other generations with odious taxes."
The Glendening campaign quickly waved off the criticism.
"Parris is the only candidate in this race who has a record of fiscal responsibility, who's managed a budget and done it successfully," said David Seldin, Mr. Glendening's campaign press secretary.
"He does believe that the state needs to invest more in improving education, fighting crime and expanding job opportunities," said Mr. Seldin, who added that he believed the estimated costs to be closer to $200 million than $300 million.
Mr. Glendening has said that the money can be found over four years by down-sizing government and generating economic *T growth.
Mr. Steinberg -- surrounded by about 50 friends, family members, campaign workers and his running mate, state Sen. James C. Simpson of Southern Maryland -- also introduced the newest members of his professional campaign staff.
M. Hirsh Goldberg, an Owings Mills public relations executive and author, is his new press secretary. Mr. Goldberg, 51, was press secretary for the late Theodore R. McKeldin, a Republican, when he was mayor of Baltimore, and for former Gov. Harry R. Hughes, a Democrat supporting Mr. Glendening.
Mr. Steinberg also trotted out his chief campaign strategist and manager, Peter A. Bozick, a former legislator from Prince George's County, who joined the campaign this week.
Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Bozick replace the last two members of Mr. Steinberg's senior campaign staff who quit earlier this month -- the last in a line of staffers who walked out, complaining of the lieutenant governor's micro-management of his election effort.
Despite the campaign's turmoil in recent weeks, Mr. Steinberg seemed relaxed and confident yesterday, joking about recent "reports of my demise" being exaggerated.
Mr. Steinberg said his campaign "will initially spend close to $1 million" on a television ad campaign he launched Thursday in the Baltimore market. His media consultant has said that the campaign would put the television ads on the air statewide -- with the possible exception of one or two weeks -- between now and the Sept. 13 election.