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City Council race too close to call

May 19, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The final results of Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council race remain too close to call.

Dorothy Kaetzel, director of the Washington County Board of Elections, said the final results won't be released until Thursday, when absentee ballots are counted.

The top five vote-getters will serve on the council.

According to unofficial election results, the candidates who received the most votes were Democrat William M. Breichner, 1,559; Democrat incumbent Lewis C. Metzner, 1,526; unaffiliated candidate Ashley C. Haywood, 1,403; Democrat incumbent Martin E. Brubaker, 1,388; and Democrat David A. Lidz, 1,371.

Republican Forrest W. Easton came in a close sixth with 1,365 votes, according to unofficial election results.

Of the 210 absentee ballots that were issued, 189 have been returned, Kaetzel said. The Board of Elections will continue to collect the ballots until Thursday, as long as they are postmarked on or before May 19.

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Kaetzel said after the election that the results of the absentee vote count could shuffle the way Haywood, Brubaker, Lidz and Easton finished.

"I hate to say anything because (the results) aren't official," Haywood said after the results were announced.

Lidz said he would wait until Thursday to comment.

"I'm still optimistic," Easton said after the election. "Win or lose, I'm still going to stay involved in city politics. Regardless of the turnout, I'm sure the next council will do a wonderful job."

Breichner and Brubaker could not be reached for comment.

Metzner, who is poised to begin his fifth consecutive term on the council on June 1, said he believed the electorate made good decisions.

"I'm very, very happy," Metzner said from his home during a telephone interview. "I have never taken an election for granted, and I didn't take this one for granted. My goal is to see the city continue to make progress."

Metzner and Brubaker were the only incumbents from the five-member council to survive the primary election in March. During that election, incumbent Councilwomen Kelly S. Cromer, Penny M. Nigh and Alesia D. Parson-McBean were defeated.

Nigh ran as a write-in candidate Tuesday.

The number of votes Nigh received will be released Thursday, election officials said. But with only 570 write-in votes cast, it will be impossible for her to finish in the top five.

Kaetzel said 2,983 people, or about 14 percent of the electorate, turned out to vote Tuesday.

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