James T. Brady, who contemplated running for governor as an independent after resigning as Maryland's economic development secretary, said yesterday that he will not be a candidate.
After talks with political consultants and others, Brady concluded that he would be entering the race too late to mount a "first-rate" campaign.
"Running an independent campaign in Maryland, you have to have sufficient time to reach the grass-roots voter, where I don't have the same level of visibility as I do with the business community," he said.
The 57-year-old former businessman had considered presenting himself as an alternative to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, if he is renominated by the Democrats, and Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the likely Republican contender.
Brady said he had assurances that he could raise money and build the necessary grass-roots organization, but that he had doubts. To qualify for the ballot, independent candidates for governor must collect signatures from as many as 100,000 voters.
Had the logistical problems been manageable, Brady said, he might have reached a different decision.
"The basic premise that caused me to think about running is as sound today as when I first thought about it," he said. "There is a need for an alternative candidate."
He said he has not decided whom he will support for governor. "I'll be deciding that along with the rest of Maryland voters," he said.
Brady, a former managing partner with the Baltimore office of Arthur Andersen LLP, a consulting and auditing firm, resigned from the Glendening Cabinet April 28 and subsequently fired off a sharp critique of the state's efforts to win the support of local businesses and recruit newcomers.
He later said he would consider a run for governor because he saw remarkable weaknesses in the leading major-party candidates. "The negatives for Glendening and Sauerbrey in the polls are astonishingly high," he said this month. "You'd almost have to be Nixon in the middle of Watergate to be that bad."
Reaction to his decision yesterday from gubernatorial candidates was largely muted.
"This governor is very proud of his record of creating jobs and stimulating the economy throughout Maryland," said Glendening spokesman Peter Hamm.
Democrat Raymond F. Schoenke Jr. said, "I have high regard and respect for him. We would certainly like to have him and
people like him associated with our campaign."
George F. Harrison, a spokesman for Democrat Eileen M. Rehrmann, said, "We certainly hope his support will come to us. He had a lot of support in the business community, and Eileen has a lot of support there, too."
Democrat Terry McGuire, noting the number of signatures required to get on the ballot, said he was not surprised by Brady's decision.
"It shouldn't be difficult for someone to get on the ballot," McGuire said. "People should be able to get who they want."
Republican Charles I. Ecker said he has the highest regard for Brady's work as economic development secretary and agreed with Brady's conclusion that running as an independent would be "difficult."
Sauerbrey's campaign had no comment.
Brady said he was happy to have revived the use of "quixotic," which he said was frequently used to characterize his consideration of the race.
His approach was to run only if he thought he could win, he said.
"The issues I have a real interest in -- economic development, jobs, education -- are still important to me, and I will pursue them as best I can," he said.
Registered voters in Maryland who want to change their party affiliation in time to vote in the Sept. 15 Republican or Democratic primary must do so by 9 p.m. Monday. Only registered Democrats may vote in the Democratic primary. Only registered Republicans may vote in the Republican primary.
Those who are not yet registered and wish to vote in the primary have until 9 p.m. Aug. 17 to register.
For more information, call the state election board at 800-222-VOTE.
Pub Date: 6/20/98