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Muldowney's criticism didn't hurt Donoghue

November 09, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Early on, polls told Republican Paul Muldowney he'd have a tough time taking down four-term Democratic delegate John P. Donoghue.

Muldowney went ahead, though, and aimed at Donoghue's record - the best way to win, if that was possible, he said Wednesday.

Muldowney went after Donoghue on medical malpractice, insurance coverage for Wal-Mart employees and the release of prison parolees in Washington County, among other issues.

Still, Donoghue defeated Muldowney on Tuesday, 4,577 to 3,651, according to complete but unofficial results.

Potentially, more than 900 absentee ballots and an unknown number of provisional ballots are left to count, but Muldowney isn't continuing to fight.

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"There's no way I can win," he said Wednesday.

Donoghue represents Subdistrict 2C, which roughly matches the boundaries of the city of Hagerstown and leans Democratic.

Donoghue also defeated Muldowney in a 1998 Democratic primary, two years before Muldowney changed his enrollment to Republican.

This year, a few elements didn't work in Muldowney's favor.

Nationally, Democrats won back control of the House of Representatives and have a shot at a majority in the Senate.

Maryland's Democrats had a strong statewide showing, winning back the governorship.

"Blue state, blue year," Muldowney said Wednesday, quoting a friend.

Other than in local races, such as Washington County Commissioners, "it's just a tough year to be Republican," he said.

After calling Donoghue with congratulations, Muldowney said his opponent did a good job of "keeping his head down" and withstanding the criticism.

Donoghue, however, attributed his win to a straightforward approach: sticking to his own ideas and accomplishments when talking to voters.

He did that with less money than Muldowney. According to campaign finances reports due by Oct. 27, Muldowney outspent Donoghue by a 5-1 margin.

Donoghue said he doesn't agree with an attack style of campaigning, but he wasn't surprised by it.

Muldowney served two terms as a state delegate, from 1979 to 1986. He lost Democratic primaries in 1986 and 1998 and ran unsuccessfully, as a Democrat, for state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Asked if he'd run again for delegate - or another office - Muldowney said he needed cortisone shots in his knees because of the rigors of campaigning this year. He noted that he'll be 75 years old in 2010.

"I don't see it in the cards," he said.

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