Bruchey mocks Trump's stutter

March 17, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown mayoral candidate Richard F. Trump's stuttering was the subject of a political attack by former Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, who is considering running as a write-in candidate after his loss in last week's primary election.

"It was a mean attack. That was the intent of it," said Trump, who was reached by phone Wednesday.

Bruchey, also reached by phone, was asked about the attack, which was contained in a Web site posting on Wednesday. He said it is a factual counterattack posted in response to false accusations leveled before the primary.

The site "talks about the truth," Bruchey said.

However, as of Wednesday night, the three-line reference to Trump's stuttering was gone from the Web site.

"I received a call from a friend that I admire and (who) said it was a little harsh, so it was changed," Bruchey said when reached by phone late Wednesday. He would not identify the friend.


Both Bruchey and Trump are Republicans, which is raising concerns among local party officials. Washington County Republican Central Committee Chairman Richard Hugg said he hoped Bruchey would back off his message before the May 17 general election.

The messages in question were posted on Bruchey's Web site,, under a page titled "Dump Trump!"

The page began: "Dick Trump has a terrible stuttering problem.

"He jokes about it stating, 'I only stutter when I lie'. Tell us Dick, you stutter alot (sic), when do you tell the truth.?"

The page then focused on a flier sent by the Friends of Hagerstown Political Action Committee, which had given $6,000 to Trump by the most recent campaign finance reporting deadline.

The Web site showed a copy of the flier, which includes a photo of Bruchey shaking hands with former Gov. Parris Glendening, a Democrat, and a caption that says, "With Friends Like this, Who Needs Enemies?"

On the same flier, in smaller print, the PAC wrote: "Bob Bruchey welcomes a gleeful Parris Glendening."

Bruchey's site retorted in bold, underlined type: "Bob Bruchey welcomes a gleeful Parris Glendening, with $14 million worth of redevelopment money in his pocket!! Wouldn't you?"

While mayor, Bruchey invited Glendening to the city in 1999 for the purpose of persuading state government to use the Baldwin House - which was empty at the time - for a University System of Maryland campus.

The University System of Maryland at Hagerstown opened in January, in the Baldwin House complex, which underwent a $13 million, state-funded renovation. Another $1 million in state money was used to build a park next to the building.

On Wednesday - while the attack was still at the Web site - Bruchey said the information was posted last week, before the primary and after the PAC's attack fliers began appearing in local Republicans' mailboxes.

"I think people needed to know why I was shaking hands with the governor," Bruchey said. "Of course, I would support any governor that was going to bring" that much money to the city.

Bruchey also said: "I am a man of my word. ... and don't run negative campaigns against people. I don't tell half truths. ... I am straightforward with people and I tell the truth about things."

Trump denied having involvement with the flier before it was sent by the PAC, saying the PAC is not controlled by him.

Trump said he didn't see the flier until he received it in the mail, but he was not opposed to it.

"To me, it represented the truth," Trump said.

Republican reaction

Also on Bruchey's site is an instruction page on how to vote for Bruchey as a write-in candidate. It was not removed along with the stuttering reference.

Bruchey has picked up papers from election officials to file as a write-in candidate, but has not yet done so.

A write-in candidate must file paperwork with the election board before the election.

Bruchey said he has taken "200 phone calls at least." The vast majority have been supportive of him filing as a write-in candidate, he said.

Bruchey said write-in campaigns historically have been unsuccessful, but said he is continuing to talk to voters to help him decide what to do, including whether to support Trump or Democratic incumbent Mayor William M. Breichner "or support something else."

Bruchey was mayor from 1997 to 2001, when he lost to Breichner. Bruchey also challenged Del. John P. Donoghue for his General Assembly seat, but lost in the November 2002 general election.

Hugg, the county Republican central committee chairman, said no one he knows from the central committee has advised Bruchey to run as a write-in.

"It's not a good idea," Hugg said.

"I'd like to think that Bob Bruchey is a good, strong Republican, and if he is, he will not follow through with the write-in campaign. It's not good for the party for the loser in a primary to initiate a write-in campaign," Hugg said.

"With a little bit of time and perspective, I think Mr. Bruchey will reconsider this. I certainly hope so."

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