Paul H. Rappaport, the 1998 Republican candidate for attorney general and a favorite of the party's conservative wing, said yesterday that he will run next year for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes.
Rappaport, who ran for lieutenant governor on Ellen R. Sauerbrey's ticket in 1994, said he would make a formal announcement of his Senate candidacy next month.
The former Howard County police chief is jumping into a race that better-known Republicans have avoided in the wake of the strong performance by Maryland Democrats last year, when Gov. Parris N. Glendening handily defeated Sauerbrey.
"I've received a great deal of encouragement and support everywhere I've gone," Rappaport said.
So far, his best-known opponent for the Republican nomination is Robin Ficker, a former Montgomery County delegate widely regarded as a political gadfly.
Unlike his last-minute run last year for attorney general, Rappaport's Senate campaign will have time to try to raise some money.
He expressed confidence that he could raise enough to mount a credible challenge to Sarbanes, a liberal four-term veteran with broad support in his party.
"Anybody's vulnerable at the right time to the right message," Rappaport said. "I think people want a two-party state -- at least a partial two-party state."
Rappaport, 65, of Ellicott City is a lawyer.
He said he has discussed his candidacy with 2nd District Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Baltimore County Republican, who considered challenging Sarbanes, but has virtually ruled that out.
"He knows I'm in the race and gives me his blessing," Rappaport said.
Pub Date: 9/23/99