Lapides jumps on to TV with campaign CAMPAIGN 1995


Mason-Dixon Campaign Polling and Strategy Inc., which helped produce advertising for Julian L. Lapides' campaign to be elected Baltimore's comptroller, was incorrectly named in an article yesterday.

The Sun regrets the error.

Julian L. Lapides, the good-government gadfly who is vying to become the next comptroller of Baltimore, has beaten all the other candidates in the city to the television stations.

In a big push to increase his visibility and name recognition, Mr. Lapides is beginning an advertising blitz Monday that will keep him on the air in Baltimore for two weeks.

A 30-second spot that will run four to five times a day on area television stations highlights Mr. Lapides' fiscal experience in the state legislature and promises he "will cut wasteful spending and invest every city dollar wisely."

The commercial features Mr. Lapides walking up the steps to City Hall surrounded by a crowd of supporters, including well-known elected officials. It closes with a picture of him in front of an adding machine and his campaign slogan, "A watchdog is back."

Mr. Lapides faces two challengers in September's Democratic primary -- Joan M. Pratt and Brian L. Carter. Mr. Carter is an unknown candidate who entered the race moments before the filing deadline Monday.

Ms. Pratt, a certified public accountant and political newcomer, has mounted a sophisticated and aggressive grass-roots campaign.

Volunteers have blanketed neighborhoods with her campaign literature and bumper stickers over the past month. Ms. Pratt also has a strong base of support as a member of Bethel AME Church, one of the largest congregations in the city.

Nevertheless, she faces an uphill race against Mr. Lapides, who has lined up numerous supporters as well-known as he is from his 32 years representing Baltimore in the General Assembly. Mr. Lapides, who didn't run for re-election because of redistricting, has already received numerous endorsements from political clubs in the city and has a larger campaign chest than Ms. Pratt.

Both Mr. Lapides and Ms. Pratt have promised to restore public trust to the comptroller's job after the downfall of Jacqueline F. McLean in a corruption scandal.

Ms. Pratt has offered her candidacy as a chance to "redeem that which has been lost" since Ms. McLean, the first African-American woman to be elected comptroller, was convicted of theft and misconduct in office.

Mr. Lapides' mailings feature endorsements from former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, U.S. Reps. Kweisi Mfume and Benjamin L. Cardin and state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. Others include state Sens. Clarence W. Blount, John A. Pica Jr., Nathaniel J. McFadden and Barbara A. Hoffman, and Dels. Delores G. Kelley, Kenneth C. Montague Jr. and Howard P. "Pete" Rawlings, all Baltimore Democrats.

The Lapides campaign is spending less than $25,000 on the commercials, which were produced by Mason-Dixon Political Media Research and The Caplan Group Inc.

"Essentially, the whole goal is to increase Jack's name recognition," said Arthur W. Murphy, Mr. Lapides' campaign consultant, who would not reveal the exact amount spent on the ads. "What we're trying to do is build an insurmountable lead."

Pratt campaign officials sought to portray the early television ads as a sign that Mr. Lapides is worried about her popularity.

"He's trying to use political connections. She has people power," said Julius Henson, Ms. Pratt's campaign manager.

Mr. Lapides also is ahead of the two top candidates for mayor -- Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and City Council President Mary Pat Clarke -- in taking to television.

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