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McKee beats Perini for 3rd term in House

November 06, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Incumbent Robert A. McKee easily beat Democratic challenger and local businessman Peter E. Perini Sr. in Tuesday's general election to win a third term in the Maryland House of Delegates.

With all precincts reporting, complete but unofficial results showed McKee won 75 percent of the vote to Perini's 25 percent in the race for the District 2A seat. McKee had 9,729 votes to Perini's 3,290 votes.

McKee said he wasn't surprised he won or by the margin.

As he went door-to-door campaigning, McKee said, people told him how much they disliked the "nasty, negative campaign" Perini ran.

"The citizens don't appreciate that type of campaign ... The only thing he did was constantly slam me," McKee said in a telephone interview from the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in downtown Hagerstown, where local Republicans gathered on election night.

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"Nice won and arrogance lost," McKee said.

McKee said he learned the news on the radio as he was driving around to pick up signs he says he will need in four years.

McKee, 53, of Halfway, has been the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County for 23 years.

Perini couldn't be reached late Tuesday to respond to McKee's comments, but earlier in the evening he said he wanted to thank everyone who supported and voted for him.

"I thought we ran the campaign the way we needed to run it. It was a good experience. I certainly enjoyed the experience," Perini said in a telephone interview from his Paramount-area home.

Perini raised $31,151, almost three times the $11,887 McKee raised, according to campaign finance reports.

"We knew going in that overcoming an incumbency would be very difficult. Being a challenger means you're the underdog going into a race," said Perini, 39.

"There are a lot of people whose minds we would have had to change," he said. "And that takes a lot of effort, a lot of contacts, a lot of media and that all costs a lot of money. That's the nature of politics."

Perini said he didn't know if he would run again. This was his first attempt to run for public office.

Perini is president and CEO of Magnolia Management, which operates six nursing homes in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

District 2A starts south of Williamsport and runs north and east of Hagerstown to the Frederick County line.

McKee will make an annual salary of $34,500 in 2003. The pay will increase by $3,000 a year in each of the following three years, reaching $43,500 in 2006.

McKee will be sworn in on Jan. 8 to a four-year term.

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