Townsend collects endorsements in campaign swing through county
Mar. 1, 2002
Walter Lee Dozier
Staff Writer




Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was the toast of the town Monday as Prince George's County politicians rolled out the red carpet with a bounty of gubernatorial endorsements and political acclamations.

Though the day of planned jubilation was tempered by the sober news that Prince George's County Councilman Isaac J. Gourdine (D-Dist.8) of Fort Washington, had been killed in automobile accident on the Capital Beltway, Townsend honored him in her speeches and comments.

"He [Gourdine] was coming to meet me," Townsend told a hundred supporters who gathered at the District Heights Town Hall for a noon luncheon. "We are here at a tough moment. Prayer will help us to remember we are only here for a short moment on this earth."

The day started with an upbeat breakfast meeting in Bowie where state senators used merriment to outdo each other's endorsements.

Sen. Gloria G. Lawlah (D-Dist. 26) of Hillcrest Heights told a sea of supporters wearing bright red and white "I love Kathleen" stickers, that she had endorsed Townsend for governor two years ago.

Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Dist.25) of Forestville followed, telling supporters he endorsed Townsend "eight years ago."

"She has in effect been the governor for the past eight years," Currie said to a mixture of smiles and nervous laughter. "She will make an outstanding governor for us."

Event organizers said the daylong event was designed to coalesce Townsend's broad-based political support in Prince George's and included 13 public events and private meetings with State Attorney Jack Johnson, a candidate for county executive, and County Executive Wayne K. Curry.

Townsend received endorsements from members of the Democratic-party dominated County Council, including county executive hopeful M.H. Jim Estepp (D-Dist. 9) of Croom who gave his endorsement separately in front of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department in Upper Marlboro. Two other county executive candidates, Sen. Rushern L. Baker III (D-Dist.22b) of Cheverly and former state technology chief Major Riddick, also endorsed Townsend on separate stops during her swing through the county.

Townsend also picked up the endorsements of members of the Prince George's County Young Democrats, Sheriff Alonzo D. Black II, Clerk of the Court Rosalyn Pugh and Register of Wills Lynn Skerpon.

"She has broad-based grassroots support in Prince George's County," said Councilman Thomas Hendershot (D-Dist.3) of New Carrollton who helped organize the event.

"This tour also gives her a chance to get a grasp on a variety of issues affecting this county," he said.

Townsend, who has yet to officially announce her candidacy, was met by a marching band at an afternoon rally at Prince George's Community College to end the day's scheduled public events.

But not all Democrats joined the endorsement bandwagon Monday.

After a short meeting with Curry, Townsend and Curry held an impromptu press conference where both politicians cordially praised each other, but no endorsements were announced.

Townsend said she and Curry had a great talk about Prince George's County and its amazing possibilities.

Curry said Townsend was not deterred by the fact that he had not endorsed her and added, "we spent time talking about our visions for the county."

E-mail Walter Lee Dozier at wdozier@gazette.net.