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Primary could change the face of council

March 08, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

Polling hours

The polls will be open Tuesday in Hagerstown from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown residents will have a chance to determine the city's future for the next four years by turning out for Tuesday's primary election.

All five members of the City Council and the mayor are running for re-election.

In the GOP mayoral primary, incumbent Robert E. Bruchey II faces political newcomers Jonathan R. Burrs and Ann Holtzman. The winner in that race will square off against Democrat David S. Gysberts in the May 19 general election.

Bruchey served as mayor from 1997 to 2001, but lost a re-election bid to William M. Breichner.

He ran again in 2005, but was defeated by former Mayor Richard F. Trump. The City Council appointed Bruchey mayor in 2006 after Trump resigned from office less than a year into his term.

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Democratic council candidates R. Noel Brady, Breichner, David A. Lidz and Joseph A. Marschner will try to unseat incumbents Martin E. Brubaker, Kelly S. Cromer, Lewis C. Metzner, Penny M. Nigh and Alesia D. Parson-McBean.

The top five vote-getters will advance to the general election to take on Republicans Patrick N. Crist, Forrest W. Easton, Jeremy L. Manford and Don Mohar. Unaffiliated candidate Ashley C. Haywood also will be on the general election ballot.

The Republicans in the council race automatically will advance to the general election because fewer than five candidates filed to run. Haywood also did not have to run in the primary.

Fourteen polling places will be open across the city from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Dorothy Kaetzel, director of the Washington County Board of Elections.

Kaetzel said residents who vote at school buildings should remember that bus traffic is the heaviest in the morning and mid-afternoon.

"School is in session during the City of Hagerstown elections," Kaetzel said. "Do not park in (bus drop-off and pickup) areas during those times."

She said residents who vote at Pangborn Elementary School must park on Pangborn Boulevard when students are getting on and off the buses.

Kaetzel said the City of Hagerstown has 9,749 registered Democrats and 7,065 registered Republicans.

Residents who already are registered to vote in county, state and federal elections do not have to register again to vote in the city election.

Only 14.5 percent of registered voters turned out during the city's last primary election in 2005, according to election statistics.

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