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McCain-Palin rally attracts former governor, Washington County's most recognizable Republicans

October 16, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain might be down in the polls, but that doesn't bother John Dunlap.

During a speech Wednesday evening at a McCain-Palin rally at Dimensions near Funkstown, the assistant state's attorney and former Republican Central Committee chairman, cited dozens of polls taken during past presidential elections that were proved wrong on election day.

"Polls can change," Dunlap told the crowd of nearly 200 McCain and Palin supporters.

The rally, which was sponsored by the Washington County Republican Club and the central committee, attracted many of the area's most recognizable Republicans, including county and state elected officials.

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the evening's featured speaker, said the event was good not only for the upcoming election, but also for future contests.

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"We've got some important races in Maryland in two years," said Ehrlich, who added that events like Wednesday's rally at Dimensions help drum up support for the party.

Several people at the rally, including Ehrlich, admitted that it would be hard for McCain to carry Maryland, a traditionally Democratic state.

"Everybody knows it's tough for McCain in Maryland. That doesn't mean you don't try," Ehrlich said.

Washington County Commissioners President John F. Barr said he is "very concerned" about McCain's prospects not only in Maryland, but across the United States.

A recent poll by Rasmussen Reports showed Democratic candidate Barack Obama ahead of McCain by 5 percentage points.

"I hope and pray that conservatives and business people realize what is at stake," Barr said.

Barr and others at the rally were optimistic, however, about what Sarah Palin, McCain's surprise choice for running mate, has brought to the ticket.

"She adds vitality," Barr said. "I like her spunk, her down-to-earth demeanor."

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said Palin has done a lot to rally the party's conservative base.

Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said she was very excited to see a female with executive experience added to the McCain ticket.

"Being the mayor of Smithsburg, you bet I am," said Myers, who argued that Palin's terms as a small-town mayor and governor of Alaska have given her the right kind of experience.

"It's a different ballgame than being, for example, one of five on a council," Myers said.

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