Campaign notes

September 21, 1998

In politics, no sooner does an election end than the Monday morning quarterbacking begins.

Here's a look at several supposed truisms that came under attack in last week's primary and other odds and ends:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The conventional wisdom that being placed last on an election ballot is a disadvantage went out the window last week when Washington County Commissioners candidate Susan T. Tuckwell, the last name on the alphabetically listed ballot, finished first in the primary.

The same goes for Board of Education candidate Mary L. Wilfong, who was last on the ballot but first among the voters.

Conversely, being listed first on a ballot is apparently no great help. Take the case of Democratic Central Committee candidate Sammy-Zeke Changuris, whose name was listed first on the ballot but who finished last.


HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Election night was also unkind to Seth E. Wilson, who was seeking the Republican nomination to the House of Delegates seat in District 2B and also a seat on the county's GOP Central Committee.

Wilson finished third in the House of Delegates race and 12th in the Central Committee balloting, giving him the inglorious distinction of being the only person in the county to lose two races that evening.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Political observers figured Hagerstown Councilman William M. Breichner would be a formidable County Commissioners candidate because of his name recognition among city voters.

But Breichner, who campaigned on a platform of giving city residents a voice in county government, did not crack the top five, even among city voters.

Breichner, who was the top Democratic vote-getter when he was re-elected to his council seat a year ago, earned fewer than 1,000 votes in Hagerstown. He finished 74 votes behind former Hagerstown Councilman John L. Schnebly, who finished fourth in city precincts.

"I felt they needed a voice over there," Breichner said on Tuesday night after returns showed he would not win one of the five nominations.

Breichner was at a loss to explain why he did not run stronger in Hagerstown, although he pointed to the large number of candidates in the field.

"That undoubtedly diluted the numbers. I obviously thought I'd do better in the city," he said.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The ink was barely dry on the primary election ballots when the Washington County Democratic Central Committee held an organizational meeting last Thursday to select new officers.

Rick L. Hemphill will return as the group's chairman, with Cynthia J. Kauffman serving as vice chairman. Terry L. Smith will return as treasurer and Brian E. Coss will serve as secretary.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Some people are bragging about their wins in last week's primary. Others are bragging about their picks.

Women At The Table, a group trying to increase the number of women officeholders in Washington County, endorsed three candidates who were nominated Tuesday. One of their endorsees lost.

"Not bad for the first time out," said member Linda Smith.

In its first-ever round of endorsements, WATT backed County Commissioners nominees Tuckwell and Linda C. Irvin-Craig and school board nominee Lenora Barnhart.

Their fourth pick, school board candidate Mildred "Mickey" Myers, came within 600 votes of being nominated.

Women At The Table interviewed female candidates for those two offices and endorsed four based on their background and the viability of their campaigns.

The two-year-old group put up signs for their candidates at all but three polling places.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Reminder: Candidates who were defeated in last week's primary have until Sept. 30 to remove their campaign signs.

Candidate to list telephone number

Mary L. Kline, a Republican candidate for Washington County Commissioner, has an unlisted telephone number. But she said that will change if she is elected.

Kline said she got an unpublished number years ago because of harassment.

"I just never got around to changing it," she said.

But Kline said she wants people to know she is available to voters. Her number is 301-842-3029.

Democratic info on Web site

Political junkies looking for information on the Internet about local Democrats can find plenty at

The page includes a list of upcoming political events, a list of Democratic candidates for local offices and results from last week's primary.

The site also contains links to other sites, such as the Maryland Democratic Party, a recitation of the party's achievements and resources for political candidates.

'Benefits' of scandal

As midterm congressional elections near, both supporters and critics of President Clinton have lamented that the Monica Lewinsky scandal distracts the country from getting on with the important issues of the day.

At least one political party, though, thinks that's a good thing.

The Libertarian Party offers three reasons why drawn-out, nasty impeachment proceedings will benefit the country:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The impeachment battle will paralyze Congress, and "the only good Congress is a paralyzed Congress," according to national party Chairman Ron Circkenberger.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The scandal will diminish voters' confidence in government programs, most of which the Libertarians want to abolish.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Impeachment hearings will demonstrate the need for a new political party, presumably the Libertarians.

- Laura Ernde, Guy Fletcher and Brendan Kirby

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