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Candidates get a night out at Potomac Fish & Game Club

Those seeking office got an opportunity to mingle with 450 members of the public

July 27, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • James Warner, who was a prisoner of war with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was one of two quest speakers Tuesday during "Candidates Night Out" at the Potomac Fish & Game Club in Williamsport.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT --Some wanted to protect their right to bear arms and some were interested in issues related to hunting and motorcycles.

A Hagerstown man spoke decisively about what he wants from candidates seeking office in this year's elections.

"I'm looking for good, conservative Republicans," said the man, who did not want to give his name.

The man said he was not looking for change simply for change's sake.

"You got to know what that change is," he said.

About 450 people attended a "Candidates Night Out" at the Potomac Fish & Game Club on Tuesday. The event was sponsored by the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Inc.

The federation represents sportsmen's clubs in and out of the county, according to president Ray Givens. Considering the federation has an estimated 6,500 members in Washington County, Givens estimates the group represents the largest voting block in the county.

The public was invited to the club off Falling Waters Road south of Williamsport for a chance to meet with candidates seeking a variety of offices, including Washington County Commissioners, Maryland House of Delegates and Senate, Washington County Sheriff, Washington County Board of Education and governor. Givens said 118 candidates were invited but he was not sure how many attended.

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The event included food and a cash bar, and the smell of barbecue wafted through the air at a picnic pavilion by the Potomac River where candidates met with the public.

The candidates did not speak but Givens said he planned to introduce them by presenting them as a group seeking a particular office. Two speakers, including James Warner, who was a prisoner of war with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, addressed those gathered.

The Washington County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs endorses candidates for general elections and to help them decide who to endorse, candidates were given a questionnaire. The questionnaire had eight questions relating to issues like animal rights activists, firearms laws and hunting.

The questionnaire allows the federation to document how a candidate feels about an issue, said Bob Walton, secretary of the organization. The questionnaire comes in handy if a candidate wins an office but casts a vote that conflicts with something he or she stated on the questionnaire, Walton said.

"Then we want an answer," Walton said.

Bob Nigh of Hagerstown said he attended the event because he wanted to find candidates who support the second constitutional amendment that protects the right to bear arms. Nigh said he thinks there has been a deterioration of second amendment rights and he wants to find candidates who are supporters of the National Rifle Association.

Scott and Susie Snow of Ringgold were at the event to follow issues related to hunting, gun ownership and motorcycling. Scott Snow said most local state delegates and state senators are sensitive to those issues.

"They're friendly to motorcyclists," Snow said.

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