Schmoke's support: quid pro . . . whoa Endorsement: Mayor claims governor failed to honor their pact; so what has Rehrmann agreed to?


LOST AMID the hoopla and hand-wringing over Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's endorsement of Democratic challenger Eileen M. Rehrmann a week ago was the mayor's astonishly frank description of the quid pro quo that led him to support Parris N. Glendening four years ago.

Before he introduced Ms. Rehrmann to a rally of hundreds outside City Hall, the mayor recalled that he was the first major political figure in Maryland to endorse Mr. Glendening as a largely unknown gubernatorial candidate. He then went on unabashedly to describe the list of conditions that sealed his original endorsement: transfer of Circuit Court responsibility and cost from city to state; relief from the imbalance of car insurance rates between the city and the counties; and legalization of slot machines.

Apparently, voters have come to expect so little of politicians hTC that Mr. Schmoke's auctioning off his personal stamp of approval didn't raise eyebrows. Here was a public figure acknowledging that his support of a candidate was no heartfelt testament to values or beliefs, merely the product of a pact on a punch list of conditions.

Forget that Mr. Glendening, as governor, helped Baltimore gainan NFL football team and a new stadium, and some $250 million for school reform. He failed to follow their list, the mayor complained.

This begs the question: What specifics did Mr. Schmoke negotiate with Ms. Rehrmann? The Harford County executive has stated her support for slots at the horse tracks. Are there more specifics the mayor will reveal four years hence?

"There is not an absolute agreement with Eileen," said her spokesman, George Harrison. "She will do what she can."

Politically speaking, we'll soon know what Mr. Schmoke's endorsement is worth. Philosophically, however, the mayor himself just devalued it.

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