Shopping for candidates

August 16, 1998

Meet the candidatesBy JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: MIKE CRUPI / staff photographer [enlarge]

Long Meadow Shopping Center was bustling with political candidates, supporters and Washington County residents who came out for "Meet the Candidates Day" on Saturday afternoon.

Cliff Eardley said he and his wife decided to go to the event so they could see who some of the many candidates running for office this year are.

Eardley was there to do more than pick up pamphlets.

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"When you hand me a piece of paper, did you smile or did you give me a grumpy look? It makes a difference," said Eardley, 69, of Hagerstown's North End.


Eardley said it also was important to see which candidates showed up. Not showing up to meet the public tells Eardley the candidates aren't interested, he said.

Aubrey Pottorff, 21, of Hagerstown, said she didn't talk to any of the candidates, but collected pamphlets from everyone there.

"If everyone does what I'm doing and then goes home and reads everything, I think they'll make a better choice," Pottorff said.

After lunch at Oliver's Pub & Restaurant with his children, Richard Diamond decided to meet some candidates.

"I think this is very beneficial to not just the delegates, but to the people of Washington County," said Diamond, 38, of Hagerstown.

"It's good to actually see and ask them what their platforms are rather than seeing it on paper," he said.

The face-to-face forum also gave Diamond a chance to ask candidates specific questions that benefit him, said Diamond, who spoke to at least 15 candidates.

Kathleen Rebok, 75, of Hagerstown, said she came to the North End shopping center to shop, but picked up some pamphlets when she saw the candidates campaigning.

Rebok said the event, which was sponsored by the Long Meadow Merchants Association, will probably help her make better decisions come Election Day.

Tammie Bannon, whose uncle, Gregory C. Bannon, is running for a Washington County Circuit Court judgeship, talked to most of the candidates.

"Although I'm not very political, I thought it was important to come out and meet the politicians," Bannon said.

Bannon, 25, of Hagerstown, said she specifically was interested in asking candidates for the Washington County Board of Education about helping children with disabilities since her son is autistic.

The county is behind the times when it comes to advanced technology that's available to help such children, she said.

Domestic violence was another issue Bannon wanted to talk to candidates about since she is a counselor for Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused, she said.

Among the campaign balloons, stickers and posters were at least 13 candidates for County Commissioner, at least 11 candidates for school board and candidates for the Maryland State Senate, the Maryland House of Delegates, Washington County Circuit Court judgeship, the Republican Central Committee, and orphans' court.

Eligible voters have about a month before they cast their first ballots. The primary election is Sept. 15 and the general election in Nov. 3.

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