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Washington County voters favored McCain

November 06, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County voters bucked the state and national voting trends Tuesday that propelled Barack Obama into the White House.

Republican John McCain garnered 31,715 votes in Washington County, compared to Obama's 23,953 votes, according to unofficial results from the Washington County Board of Elections.

Other presidential candidates on Maryland's ballot included Independent Ralph Nader, with 438 votes in Washington County, and Libertarian Bob Barr, who received 240 votes.

Obama won the national election handily with an unofficial vote total of 63,847,672 to 56,368,407. Obama also won Maryland, earning 1,409,150 votes to McCain's 873,320.

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Hagerstown resident Brandon Peterson, 21, said he thought Washington County chose McCain because of local demographics.

"It's more of a middle-class, white area," explained Peterson, who said he voted for Obama. "I think (Obama) will do a good job. He has more to prove."

David Peters, 27, of Hagerstown, disagreed. He said a majority of Washington County residents voted for McCain because the Arizona senator had more experience.

"(McCain) knows more about politics," Peters said. "Obama didn't know a lot. All he wanted to do was raise taxes. I wouldn't have liked that. Now, it's going to happen."

McCain could have done better in the state and national races had he focused more on the issues instead of the attack ads, Obama supporter Larry Fair, 67, of Boonsboro said.

"No one can dispute Obama handled (the campaign) brilliantly," Fair said.

When asked why he thought a majority of voters in Washington County supported McCain, Fair said, "I'd have to say they thought he was the better of the two men."

Although the City of Hagerstown is a Democratic stronghold, the county is mostly Republican, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said.

"We have a majority of Republicans registered in Washington County," said Bruchey, a Republican.

Bruchey said he supports a system of checks and balances. But Obama's victory -- coupled with a House and Senate controlled by Democrats -- could lead to trouble.

As the manager of Hagerstown Motors, Bruchey said he hopes Obama will "find a way to protect small businesses" and fix the sluggish economy.

"I am excited to see where the country heads from here," Bruchey said. "I look forward to seeing good things happen for the next four years."

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