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Republicans rally at picnic

August 26, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The lack of partisan races in Washington County this year didn't keep area Republicans from an annual picnic Wednesday.

They were rallying and expressing support for President Bush's re-election.

Nearly 175 county residents joined elected officials for dinner Wednesday at Smithsburg Community Park. They also had a chance to pick up free Bush/Cheney promotional materials.

"I wanted to get some signs and bumper stickers," said Tiffany Hawbaker, a registered Republican and the current Miss Western Maryland. "I think people are fired up about the presidential election. I am."

Among the elected officials attending were Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, delegates Christopher Shank and LeRoy Myers and four Washington County Commissioners.

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Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers and Mark K. Boyer, organizer of the Bush campaign in Washington County and former chairman of the Washington County Republican Central Committee, were among those who said Wednesday they were looking forward to watching the Republican National Convention next week.

Charles Batt, of Hagerstown, said he believes the convention will provide an opportunity for the GOP to clarify its platform and to rally supporters and undecided voters by focusing on the Bush administration's successes, such as domestic education improvements, aid to foreign countries and the tax cut.

"What Bush needs to do is emphasize those accomplishments," Batt said. "We tend to forget easily, as a society, what happened six months ago, a year ago."

Howard McPherson, of Hagerstown, disagreed, saying the convention is a waste of time because Republicans across the country already know, "We've got George."

Still, he said it was important to attend Wednesday's event to rally against the president's opponent, John Kerry.

"He lies - He's for one thing this day, another the next day," McPherson said. "He's the flip-flop man."

Several registered Democrats from the county were in attendance as well, including Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner.

"We gotta keep our eyes on these guys, so they don't get too far off base," Breichner joked.

Breichner said he attempts to attend the Republican picnics annually to see friends and show that members of both parties are committed to working together.

"After elections, we all have a dedication to the good of Washington County," he said.

Members of the Potomac Fish & Game Club were also there enjoying some friendly ribbing and cooking corn for the dinner.

"We've done it for years for them," said Bill Sonnik, club president. "We get a lot of enjoyment saying we're all Democrats."

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