State Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski demonstrated anew yesterday that in politics, as in real life, blood is thicker than water.
Ending weeks of speculation within the political community, Mr. Miedusiewski announced that he has decided to endorse his fellow Democrat, Parris N. Glendening, for governor.
In some ways it was a predictable closing of ranks after last month's primary election, in which Mr. Glendening rolled over Mr. Miedusiewski and two other candidates in a bitter four-way primary.
In other ways it was not so predictable. During the campaign, the underfunded Mr. Miedusiewski engaged in the politics of ridicule, likening Mr. Glendening in one memorable radio ad to a bumbling TV lawman who couldn't be trusted with bullets for his gun.
Since the primary, moreover, Mr. Miedusiewski has flirted with the idea of endorsing Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the Republican standard-bearer. Yesterday he said that was never a serious prospect, a comment at odds with earlier assertions.
"I haven't made up my mind yet on who to support," he said Sept. 28. "I plan to talk again with both candidates and then determine which better fits my philosophy and that of my supporters."
In announcing his decision yesterday, Mr. Miedusiewski said that after meeting twice with Mr. Glendening, he had achieved a "comfort level" with his old rival that allowed him to back vigorously the party's choice. Papering over their differences on abortion, gun control, taxes and spending, the two men said they share a philosophical commitment to more jobs, better public schools and safer streets -- issues few would challenge.
Mr. Glendening, in accepting the endorsement, praised Mr. Miedusiewski, saying he has a "good future in Maryland." But he said there had been no promise of a job in a Glendening administration.
Mr. Miedusiewski said that in the past week he had been urged to endorse Mr. Glendening by an assortment of party heavyweights, including both of Maryland's U.S. senators, Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski, and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of Baltimore.
All three were at the endorsement news conference, along with state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, Mr. Glendening and Mr. Glendening's running mate, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
It was quite a turnout for Mr. Miedusiewski, a man who a year ago was barely known outside his East Baltimore district.
But Mr. Miedusiewski placed second to Mr. Glendening in the primary, running strong in areas -- East Baltimore, eastern Baltimore County, northern Anne Arundel and Harford -- where the Glendening juggernaut sputtered.
In a tight election, his supporters could make a difference,
assuming they achieve a similar "comfort level" with Mr. Glendening.
As for the senator himself, after the rampant generalities of the news conference he reclaimed his reputation for straight talk. "I knew that if I wanted to do something inside the Democratic Party, to step outside the Democratic Party was ludicrous," he said.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey may not know how much she and her husband paid in income taxes last year, but she knows how she likes her other half to look.
At her request, Wilmer J. E. Sauerbrey -- better known in political circles as the husband of the Maryland House minority leader -- took the whiskers off his chin two weeks ago today after sporting a beard for three years. He appeared Friday night at the annual "Sauerbrey und Sauerkraut" fund-raiser looking, well, naked.
Mr. Sauerbrey, a retired engineer who now sells real estate, agreed to shave regularly until at least Nov. 9, the day after the general election. Then he will decide whether to grow it again -- "if I want to," he said.
Said his wife: "I have been trying to get him to shave off the beard ever since he grew it. . . . It's something I've never liked, and he was nice enough to do it to humor me."
Why? "Obviously, any candidate is putting forward their best face, and obviously my husband's best face is without a beard," Mrs. Sauerbrey said. Besides, she added, "When I'm out on the campaign trail, I don't want people to think he's my father."