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Government up for grabs

Voters to choose state, county leaders

Voters to choose state, county leaders

November 05, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Voters will settle several hotly contested races Tuesday, determining who will guide Maryland and Washington County government for the next four years.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

At the top of the ticket is the governor's race, in which the two candidates are running neck and neck.

No matter who wins, history will be made. Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend would become the state's first woman governor or Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. would retake the governor's mansion for his party after a lapse of more than 30 years.

"It's going to be a horserace right to the end," said Robert Sweeney, who has run Ehrlich's campaign in Washington County.

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In the area's congressional race, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., will try to stave off the second challenge for the 6th District seat in two years from Democrat Donald DeArmon.

In Washington County, voters will elect three senators and five delegates to represent them in the Maryland General Assembly for the next four years.

In the race for Washington County Board of Commissioners, four incumbents and six challengers are running for five seats.

Washington County political observers are hoping for high voter turnout, even though recent elections have been plagued by apathy.

In the September primary, the county's voter turnout of 23 percent was the lowest in the state. In the 1998 general election, 31.5 percent of registered voters in the county cast ballots.

In 1994, the year Gov. Parris Glendening barely edged out Ellen Sauerbrey, turnout was 38.6 percent.

"We just hope everybody just goes and votes. It's a good habit to get into," said Rick Hemphill, chairman of the Washington County Democratic Central Committee.

As in previous years, party volunteers will be making phone calls and offering people rides to the polls to boost turnout, he said.

Over the past three years, local Republicans have rebuilt their precinct organization. Such organizations ensure there is a leader in virtually every voting precinct to get out the vote, Sweeney said.

"I think we'll see a pretty big turnout across the state. People are really excited about this election," he said.

Weather could be a factor in getting the county's 70,000 registered voters to the polls. The forecast calls for rain developing early in the afternoon and high temperatures in the upper 40s, according to the National Weather Service.

After the polls close, candidates and their supporters will anxiously await the results.

Republicans are holding a party at the VFW in downtown Hagerstown while Democrats will gather at the Morris Frock American Legion on Northern Avenue.

The races for General Assembly are as follows:

- State Senate District 3, Republican incumbent Alex X. Mooney vs. Democrat Sue Hecht.

- State Senate District 2, Republican incumbent Donald F. Munson vs. Democrat Mary Newby.

- State Senate District 1, Republican incumbent John J. Hafer is running unopposed.

- House of Delegates District 1C, Democrat incumbent Casper R. Taylor Jr. vs. Republican LeRoy E. Myers Jr.

- House of Delegates District 2A, Republican incumbent Robert A. McKee vs. Democrat Peter E. Perini Sr.

- House of Delegates District 2B, Republican incumbent Christopher B. Shank vs. Democrat David Russo.

- House of Delegates District 2C, Democrat incumbent John Donoghue vs. Republican Bob Bruchey.

- House of Delegates District 3B, Democrat Lisa Baugher versus Republican Rick Weldon.

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