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Bruchey to open write-in campaign

March 18, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Robert E. Bruchey II has announced his intention to file as a write-in candidate for mayor of Hagerstown in May's general election.

The announcement disappointed the county's top GOP leader and drew laughter from the man who defeated him in the party's mayoral primary just last week.

Bruchey announced Thursday at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown that his loss in the March 8 Republican primary was not the end of his mayoral campaign. He said he planned to file as a write-in candidate today.

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That means he would run as a write-in candidate against Richard F. "Dick" Trump, who won the GOP mayoral primary last week, and incumbent Mayor William M. Breichner, a Democrat, who defeated Bruchey in the 2001 general election.

Bruchey said the site of the announcement was significant because it represents one of his biggest accomplishments as mayor of Hagerstown.

"What better place than at the University Center that I was responsible for bringing into Hagerstown," Bruchey said. "It's a perfect example of what can be accomplished when governing bodies work together. We had the state, the city and the county on this project."

Bruchey said he decided to run because of public outcry from residents of all political affiliations for him to do so.

"People have pleaded with us to run a write-in campaign because they feel there is no candidate to choose from for mayor on May 17," he said.

Bruchey said, however, he had been approached by members of the Republican party, who asked him not to run. Bruchey said that although the decision to wage a write-in campaign was a difficult one, he realized that he "can't please all the people all the time."

"I certainly don't mean to ostracize myself for sure ... but I believe the mayor represents all people," he said.

Bruchey said he left a voice mail for Trump on Thursday to inform him of the decision. Bruchey said he "more than likely" would have apologized to Trump if information posted on Bruchey's Web site had offended him.

Bruchey's Web site made reference to Trump having a stuttering problem. By Wednesday night, the three-line reference to Trump's stuttering had been removed from the Web site.

Bruchey said he used many of Trump's own words in the posting, and that it was a response to a mailing that attacked Bruchey's honesty just days before the GOP primary.

The mailing was a flier sent by Friends of Hagerstown Political Action Committee.

The flier 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?"

Bruchey had invited Glendening to the city in 1999 to persuade state government to use the Baldwin House, which was empty at the time, for the University System of Maryland campus. It was there that he made his announcement Thursday.

Trump said Bruchey had not directly apologized to him. Trump also claimed they spoke Thursday, something Bruchey disputed.

Trump said Bruchey's decision was "self-serving" and not in the best interest of the party.

"Our effort is to unite our party, to invite everyone to the table and move forward with a strong Republican ticket. We can't control what Mr. Bruchey does," Trump said.

Trump scoffed at Bruchey's statement questioning Trump's commitment to Hagerstown residents because of connections to developers and "special interest groups."

"Where does his support come from - unions," Trump said. "Isn't that calling the kettle black?"

Trump laughing about the information that had been on Bruchey's Web site.

"This guy is a credible candidate? I love B-B-B-Bob B-B-B-Bruchey. Make sure you write it in the paper like that," Trump said.

One person who was not laughing Thursday was Washington County Republican Central Committee Chairman Richard "Rick" Hugg.

Hugg called Bruchey's decision "short-sighted," and said he hopes the former mayor changes his mind.

"It is a disappointment," Hugg said. "I have to wonder who is advising Mr. Bruchey. It's certainly not the representatives of the Republican party."

Hugg said he believes Bruchey's continued candidacy will be a "distraction."

Democratic City Council candidate Kelly Cromer, who was in attendance for Bruchey's announcement, said she believes Bruchey is the best of the three candidates for mayor despite their differing party affiliations. Cromer also said she does not believe Bruchey's Web posting should count against him.

"I don't believe he meant it in a mean-spirited way, to make fun of (Trump)," Cromer said.

City Councilman Lewis Metzner, a candidate in May's election, also attended although he said, "it was not an endorsement of any candidate; my dog is not in that fight."

Metzner said he was not surprised by Thursday's announcement because of the "appalling" nature of the anti-Bruchey mailing that was sent out before the primary.

"I felt it was just cheap politics," Metzner said. "Therefore, it didn't surprise me that Bob wasn't just going to sit through that thing and just forget it."

Breichner could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Staff Writer Gregory T. Simmons contributed to this story.

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