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Kauffman returns to city council race

May 01, 2001

Kauffman returns to city council race



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Ira KauffmanHagerstown will print new ballots for the May 15 election to replace the name of Democratic candidate Steven T. Sager, who dropped out Friday, with that of Ira P. Kauffman Jr., a fellow Democrat Sager edged off the ballot in the primary last month.

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The city of Hagerstown will pay for new election ballots, which are estimated to cost less than $1,700 to print. That total does not include the unknown cost of shipping. The new ballots are expected to arrive by Thursday.

The Washington County Democratic Central Committee decided Sunday to ask the Hagerstown Election Board Monday to make the ballot change. The board agreed during a 15-minute meeting Monday.

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Sager dropped out Friday after the State Ethics Commission said he had to choose between his state job and his City Council bid because of the possible appearance of a conflict. Sager is a regional representative in the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Sager had requested the ruling.

"I am happy to be back in the race," Kauffman said. He said, however, that he is at a disadvantage running against those who have not stopped campaigning.

Kauffman came in sixth in the March 13 Democratic primary, with 476 votes. Sager had 564 votes. Only the top five candidates from each party move on to the general election.

The Hagerstown Election Board decided during a special meeting Monday to accept the request of the Democratic Central Committee to appoint Kauffman to replace Sager on the ballot.

The Central Committee request followed a unanimous decision Sunday to appoint Kauffman.

"I urge you to please process this appointment as soon as possible so that Mr. Kauffman may resume his campaign for the Hagerstown City Council," Committee Chairman Rick Hemphill said in a letter to the Election Board dated Monday.

During the meeting, Hemphill was promised that new ballots will be printed and attempts will be made to contact those who have already applied for absentee ballots as well as those who filled them out. About 100 people requested absentee ballots and 40 voters have returned them.

The city charter states that replacement names can be added by affixing stickers on the ballot, but Washington County Election Board officials were unsure whether that would work with its present election equipment.

Kauffman said he doesn't expect to put up any signs for his campaign. However, he will speak to groups interested in hearing from him, he said.

His most important issue in the campaign is the city's fiscal responsibility, he said.

He is pleased to be back in the race but is not surprised by the circumstances, he said.

Kauffman did not think the state would allow Sager to be a candidate because of his state job. It made sense for the committee to nominate him since he came sixth in the primary, he said.

"I think that's only fair and proper," he said.

Kauffman, 67, a retired CIA worker, served on the council from 1977 to 1981.

Kauffman is running against Democrats Penny May Nigh, Lewis C. Metzner, Kristin B. Aleshire and N. Linn Hendershot, and Republicans Carol N. Moller, Victoria K. Bodnar, Alfred W. Boyer, Richard G. Everhart and Michael E. Nehring.

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