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Area residents divided on election's outcome

November 04, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

TRI-STATE - "No ... darn ... That's not what I wanted to hear," was Anthony Holmes' reaction Wednesday when told that Democrat John Kerry had conceded the presidential election a few hours earlier.

Seconds later, a long-faced Holmes, 43, a registered Democrat from Hagerstown, called out the news to a friend who was approaching the Hagerstown Post Office on West Franklin Street.

"Hey man, Bush won again," Holmes said.

The other man rolled his eyes, shook his head and continued walking.

On the flip side, Tim and Holly Ressler, of Maugansville, said they were elated that their candidate won and that there was a clear winner this election.

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"I thought Kerry should have (conceded) a little earlier, but I appreciate the fact that he didn't drag it through the courts like (Al) Gore did four years ago," said Holly Ressler, 38, a registered Republican.

Bush won a second term in Tuesday's balloting. Kerry called Bush, who garnered more electoral and popular votes, just after 11 a.m. Wednesday to concede.

In Washington County, those interviewed were about as divided on the candidates as the rest of the country.

Dominick Marinelli, 58, a registered Republican from Hagerstown, said President Bush can do more domestically in his second term because of his gains in the war on terrorism.

"Now, this man can put some of his policies in effect," Marinelli said. "With Bush, you know what you have. You really didn't know what you'd have with Kerry."

Barbara Pradel, 61, a registered Independent from Hagerstown, said she did not want to vote for Bush because of her concerns about the war in Iraq.

"I was sorry to see that Kerry didn't win, but at least the election went fairly smoothly this time," Pradel said.

Meanwhile, in Martinsburg, W.Va., a teary-eyed local Kerry volunteer said she watched some of Kerry's concession speech. As she helped take down a large Kerry-Edwards banner from the Democratic headquarters in Martinsburg, a car drove by, blasting a recorded "Ha-Ha" from its speakers.

"What can you think but, how can this be?" Lynn Wagner, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., said. "I'm not very good with words today."

Shane Kauffman, of Martinsburg, said he became emotional while watching Kerry's concession speech.

"I think he was speaking from his heart," Kauffman said. "My heart went out to him."

Kauffman said he hopes Bush will call for unity in the divided country.

A few blocks from Democratic headquarters, Charles "C.J." Edgar, of Charles Town, W.Va., pulled his Bush- and anti-abortion sticker-laden pickup truck in front of the Republican headquarters to offer his congratulations.

He and others who stopped by found the building deserted.

"I'm feeling great," said Edgar, who said he was pleased Bush will have Republican support in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

He attributed Bush's victory to Bush being "a good, moral, courageous leader" who also was strong in the war on terror. He noted that while other countries have been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has not.

Although she voted for Bush, Marty Cramer, who lives in Hagerstown and works in Martinsburg, was not celebrating.

"Truthfully, I don't know whether it was the lesser of two evils," she said of the ballot she cast.

Cramer said she voted for Bush because she at least knows how he stands on issues.

Percy Heefner, 83, of Waynesboro, Pa., was among those sorry that Bush won.

"The way I look at it, we're going to get four more years of lies. I don't think he knows what the truth is," Heefner said.

Bill Pupo, 52, of Mercersburg, Pa., said he believed those who voted for Bush only for "moral reasons" were wrong in doing so.

"The president should not dictate the country's morals," he said. "That's up to each of us to decide for ourselves."

He said he believed that Kerry's timing on conceding the election was correct.

"It wasn't too soon. It was over, cut and dried," he said.

Staff writers Richard F. Belisle and Candice Bosely contributed to this story.

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