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Dems seek to increase candidates in Franklin County

March 04, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Paul Politis, second vice chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Committee, told 57 fellow Democrats Thursday night that their enthusiasm and energy is not enough in a county where Republicans enjoy a 2-1 margin in registered voters.

"We need candidates. We need to offer an alternative, and we can't do that without candidates," Politis said at the committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner at the 30 West Family restaurant in Chambersburg.

Politis, who ran against U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster last year, urged Democrats to get to the Franklin County Courthouse by Tuesday's filing deadline and sign up for a local office in time for the May 17 Pennsylvania primary.

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In an off-year election, nearly 200 local offices are up for re-election in Franklin County this year, said Cheryl Plummer, the only Democrat among the three sitting Franklin County Commissioners.

"We have a lot of energy, but we need to transform it into candidates," Politis said.

"I don't know why there is no Democrat running for county treasurer, a cushy $55,000-a-year, part-time job," Politis said.

Three Republicans have filed for the treasurer's job so far.

The Democrats' goal is to build on the momentum picked up in the 2004 presidential race, said Bruce Hockersmith, mayor of Shippensburg, Pa., and chairman of the county's Democratic Committee.

"We're building from this point. We had more volunteers working on the last presidential election than we've had in 20 years," he said.

"We still don't have the numbers, but we have the energy," Politis said. "Our main thrust will be to get as many candidates filed as possible."

He said Democrats need to build up their representation in local government.

"We need to have candidates to give people a choice," he said.

Hockersmith told the group, "If the government is not representing us then we must try to change it. It's time to take the reins. Get off our duffs. We just can't sit here and expect things to improve. The Democratic Party in Franklin County is alive and well. Get out of our way. We're coming through."

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