Baltimore Press

Business Leader to Chair Stokes’ Campaign

Carl Stokes announced in a press conference yesterday that Ray V. Haysbert, the former president of Parks Sausage, is now the honorary chairman of his campaign.

The conference was held at a five road intersection near Lake Montebello, which was dubbed by Haysbert as the “most political comer in Baltimore.” The dozens of lawn signs for both Stokes and front­runner Lawrence A. Bell, III within a block in every direction, corroborated his statement. The largest signs were on prime real estate, both politically and temporally, of Haysbert’s front lawn.

“We need someone with the range of Carl Stokes,” Haysbert said. “Hq. supports a Zero Tolerance that affects the quality of life…he will not bend over for any source or opposition.” Before the conference, Haysbert said not only did he like what Stokes stood for, but also picking the winner was “good for business.” In the last 30 years of posting election signs in his well-manicured front yard, Haysbert said he has picked about 90 percent of the winners.

Haysbert is a well-respected busi­nessman and civic leader in Baltimore and is a member of the President’s Roundtable, a society of prominent black business leaders. He noted that earlier in the mayoral race, the President’s Roundtable had invited both Stokes and Bell to speak to the group. Possible campaign contribu­tions were at stake, but Bell’s staff was so unorganized, he never received the invitation, and so lost a important early opportunity, accord­ing to Haysbert.

Stokes also fielded questions about the recent controversy about him never receiving a degree from Loyola College. Although much has been made of the fact that Stokes campaign literature falsely claims he graduated from the college, it was the Stokes campaign office that originally released a retraction. A spokesperson said Stokes had never told his daugh­ters that he had graduated from Loyola, and that he did not believe a college degree was necessary to gov­ern the city.

Whether the scandal would have cost Stokes votes, he admitted, “I don’t know, quite honestly, who we’ve lost.” Responding to a com­ment that political analysts predicted that such a gaff would likely cripple his campaign, he said “the analysts said [Ellen] Saurbrey was going to win.”

Saurbrey, Republican gubernatorial candidate in the last election, was defeated by Gov. Parris Glendening.

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