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Former governors visit Hagerstown

November 15, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

HAGERSTOWN

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer stopped in Hagerstown on Monday to raise money for his re-election campaign.

The Friends of William Donald Schaefer, a statewide bi-partisan group of supporters, hosted a reception at the Four Points Sheraton. Hagerstown was one of several stops throughout Western Maryland, Schaefer said.

Schaefer faces Del. Peter V.R. Franchot, D-Takoma Park, in the 2006 primary. Franchot announced his candidacy Nov. 12.

Former Gov. Marvin Mandel, who has endorsed Schaefer, was a guest speaker at the Hagerstown reception. Mandel said he and Schaefer grew up together in Baltimore and were good friends.

Mandel said the incumbent's proven fiscal responsibility made him the right man for the job. The state ended the fiscal year with a $1 billion surplus, which Mandel credited to Schaefer's time in office.

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"In order to serve the people, you have to have the money to do it and preserve the money you have," Mandel said. "As long as we have people who are willing to do that, we'll be successful. And Don Schaefer is one of those people."

Schaefer said the biggest issue this election was figuring out what to do with the billion-dollar surplus.

"We're going to have good years from a fiscal standpoint," Schaefer said. "We're going to be able to restore funding to many agencies who were cut. Now, we have to decide where that money goes."

Schaefer, a former state governor and the former mayor of Baltimore, has held an elected office for nearly five decades. Over the years, critics have questioned Schaefer's loyalties to the Democratic party.

Schaefer, 84, endorsed former President Bush over Bill Clinton in the 1992 election and has been a strong supporter of current Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

So far, the greatest criticism has come from his Democratic competitor, Franchot, who said he's running as the "real Democrat."

"Oh, I don't pay attention to that," Schaefer said. "I've been around for a long time. After it's all over, you've got to work for what's good for the state. Not what's good for politics."

Schaefer said he spent $3 million on his last campaign. Since then, he has raised more than $127,000 - with The Friends of William Donald Schaefer generating around $125,000 of those funds - according to the Maryland Board of Elections contributions database.

He has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan, Montgomery County Executive, for the 2006 term.

Franchot, whom political analysts view as the underdog, has raised just more than $34,000 since the last election, according to the database.

Franchot is scheduled to appear in Hagerstown on Wednesday, his campaign officials said.

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