Absentees may decide fifth City Council seat

May 21, 1997


Staff Writer

Incumbent Republican Susan K. Saum-Wicklein will have to wait until this afternoon's absentee ballot count to know for sure whether she held onto her Hagerstown City Council seat.

Saum-Wicklein held a 58-vote lead over Democrat Larry A. Vaughn, according to unofficial returns.

There are still up to 155 absentee ballots and 20 write-in votes for the City Council to count today, said Dorothy Kaetzel, Washington County election director.

Incumbents William M. Breichner and Lewis C. Metzner won back their council seats with Republican newcomers Alfred W. Boyer and J. Wallace "Wally" McClure joining them.


Reached at home Tuesday night, Vaughn said he was not optimistic about his chances. He said it would be almost impossible to overcome Saum-Wicklein's lead.

The second time was the charm for McClure, who led council candidates with 2,136 votes. McClure, 46, lost his first bid for a seat in 1993 to Mark Jameson by 35 votes.

Passing out 4,500 endorsement cards to local residents is what put him on top, said McClure, who owns two downtown businesses - McClure's Piano Shop and 'Round Town Movers.

Breichner, 65, a Democrat, won back his council seat with 2,124 votes.

"I'm sure it's going to be different. Certainly Mayor Sager had his style and I'm sure that's going to change," Breichner said of winning a council seat in an administration with a new mayor, Republican Robert E. Bruchey II.

Saum-Wicklein said, "Clearly the new mayor does not have the same gumption for downtown revitalization that Mayor Sager has had the last 12 years."

Metzner, a Democrat, said he was more concerned with the makeup of the council than the mayoral race.

"It looks like we have a very good council. And Bob Bruchey, I anticipate will be a very fine mayor," said Metzner, 44.

"It is the first time I've been elected to any office," Metzner said. "I've never had the mandate of the people - just the mayor and council. This certainly is a positive thing."

Metzner was appointed to council in October 1994 to fill a vacancy left by John L. Schnebly, who had resigned because he moved out of the city.

Boyer said going door-to-door helped him win a council seat.

"I think that there was a general attitude out there that people wanted fresh blood in office," said Boyer, 61.

"I'm honored to be elected. I plan to do my very best at representing the people that put me here," he said.

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