Bowers survives in county voting

September 16, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Washington County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers won a slim victory in Tuesday's Democratic primary while one colleague must wait for absentee ballots to be counted to know his fate.

Bowers fended off Hagerstown City Councilman William M. Breichner to win a spot on the general election ballot.

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Absentee ballots will determine whether Republican Commissioner John S. Shank will advance to the general election.

In the GOP primary, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook was the top vote-getter with 5,077 votes with complete but unofficial results. Former Washington County Circuit Judge John P. Corderman finished second with 3,830 votes, 15 ahead of certified public accountant William J. Wivell.

The fourth- and fifth-place finishers will not be determined until absentee ballots are counted on Thursday. Fewer than 60 votes separated fourth-place finisher Shank and seventh-place finisher Clinton H. Wiley, who runs an Internet company.


There are at least 310 GOP absentee ballots.

Shank, who collected 3,093 votes, said he was not concerned by the balloting and predicted he will do well in the absentees.

"I think I'll stay where I am. If anything, I think I'll move up," he said. "With that many people running and all the conversations and controversies over the last four years, I wasn't expecting anything."

Retired county employee Mary L. Kline finished fifth with 3,081 votes. Retired postmaster John C. Munson came in sixth with 3,056 votes.

"Absentees could do it," he said.

Wivell said he was surprised Shank did not place higher than he did. He said, however, he heard much anger when he campaigned door-to-door.

"Everyone you talked to said they weren't voting for incumbents and I was happy I wasn't an incumbent," he said.

But Wiley, who garnered 3,039 votes, noted turnout was slightly higher than 30 percent. He said he heard some anger about the county's $54 million water and sewer debt, but not as much as he expected.

Snook and Corderman expressed gratitude over their showings.

"I'm really tickled that the vote came out that way. The race is just starting for November, but that shows me that I'm doing something right," Snook said.

Said Corderman, who served three years in the state senate before he was appointed to the bench: "Anything over the top five is a big victory."

On the Democratic side, Susan T. Tuckwell was the top vote-getter with 4,872 votes. Now, she said, it is important to reach out to Republicans.

"I think it really boils down to who voters feel is the best person for the job despite party," she said.

The other Democratic nominees are:

-- retired school administrator Paul L. Swartz, with 4,490 votes;

-- former County Commissioner Linda C. Irvin-Craig with 4,128 votes;

-- former Hagerstown City Council member John L. Schnebly with 3,975 votes;

-- and Bowers with 3,830 votes.

Swartz, who finished first in the Democratic primary four years ago but failed to win in the general election, said he is more experienced this time around.

"I didn't know what to do for an encore after the primary," he said.

This time around, he said, things will be different. "It's like a crescendo. I'm just going to build and build and build."

Schnebly said he had Republican support in his city campaign and hopes for GOP votes in November.

"We made the cut and from perspective, I feel good about that," he said.

Bowers finished fifth in the primary, but noted that Snook was the only Republican who got more votes.

"If you look at it, I'm actually sixth," said Bowers, who is seeking an unprecedented sixth term. "I feel comfortable after looking at the vote count for both parties."

Irvin-Craig, who was defeated in the general election four years ago, said she was pleased with Tuesday's results.

"We're just going to have to work harder," she said.

The five Republicans and five Democrats, and Independent candidate Bert L. Iseminger Jr., will face off in the Nov. 3 general election. The top five vote-getters in that race will be elected to four-year terms.

The job pays $20,000 per year.

The vote totals for the other Republican voters were:

-- Andrew P. Thomas, with 2,182 votes;

-- Dennis L. Duffey with 1,467 votes;

-- Timothy A. Bonds with 1,375 votes;

-- Albino J. Trujillo with1,185 votes;

-- William M. Hornbarger II with 1,169 votes;

-- Joseph H. Walker with 827 votes;

-- and Alfred C. Lane with 383 votes.

The vote totals for the remaining Democrats were:

--Julianna M. Albowicz with 2,766 votes;

-- Andrew R. Humphreys with 2,143 votes;

-- William C. "Bill" Blair with 2,077 votes;

-- Joseph D. Swope Jr. with 1,976 votes;

-- Patricia Crowther with 1,827 votes;

-- Eugene "Buddie" Morris with 1,266 votes;

-- Ronnie Hines with 1,046 votes;

-- and Delmas Knight with 1,023 votes.

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