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Gross wins seat

June 25, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The man who has been the virtual Cal Ripken Jr. of local government in Boonsboro continued his run as a Town Council member with his win in the town's runoff election Thursday.

Richard Gross beat out longtime friend and running mate Kevin Chambers, a three-time council member, to win a four-year seat on the Boonsboro Town Council.

Gross beat Chambers by 53 votes, 147-94, in the runoff election that broke a previous tie between the men.

Gross and Chambers each received 87 votes in the May 10 town election.

In that balloting, William Tritapoe won one of two open council seats with 88 votes, and an uncontested Mayor Charles F. "Skip" Kauffman won his fifth term as mayor.

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Gross said he was surprised by the large turnout and the margin of victory over "a great man," Chambers. Gross and Chambers ran together in past town elections.

Gross said he was happy with the victory but had mixed emotions.

"It's a very hard election when you have to run against one of your best friends," Gross said.

As a result of the victory, Gross is now embarking on his sixth, four-year term. He also served two, two-year terms in the 1960s.

Gross said he was trying to figure out why he won by more than 50 votes since both met with voters one-on-one and both put up signs throughout the town.

Chambers said he thought the runoff election would be closer. He said it was the first time the two were forced to tell voters to support "me instead of him."

"That was a hard decision for the town to make," Chambers said.

The runoff election broke what was believed by town officials and historians to be the first tie in a council election.

On June 7, the council approved a provision to the town charter providing for runoff elections when needed. The town charter previously did not specify a course of action for election ties.

Under the new provision, in the event of a tie, the Board of Supervisors of Elections will call for a special election at the earliest possible date not sooner than 14 days or later than 60 days after the original election.

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