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Munson concedes, but won't support Shank

September 15, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • State Sen. Donald F. Munson carries a campaign sign to his car after collecting it from downtown Hagerstown on Wednesday
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

State Sen. Donald F. Munson said Wednesday he's no longer considering a write-in campaign and has conceded to Christopher B. Shank, the hands-down winner in Tuesday's Republican primary.

But Munson -- who was trying for a sixth Senate term -- said he won't support Shank and considers him a liability for Washington County in Annapolis.

Shank, finishing his third term as the Subdistrict 2B delegate, received about 57 percent of the vote Tuesday and will take over for Munson in the coming session of the Maryland General Assembly.

Shank has no Democratic opponent in the Nov. 2 general election.

His victory ends Munson's 36 consecutive years in the General Assembly -- 16 as delegate, 20 as senator.

Late Tuesday night, Munson said he wasn't ready to give up and was thinking about launching a write-in campaign.

On Wednesday, he also talked about seeking a spot on the general-election ballot as a Democrat, if possible.

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However, on Wednesday afternoon, he backed off. He said his chances in a write-in campaign were highly improbable.

"The primary thing is the voters made a decision," Munson said. "As an elected official, they're my bosses. When you live by the vote, you die by the vote."

There have been a handful of write-in campaigns in Washington County and Hagerstown elections in recent memory, but no winners.

Robert E. Bruchey II came close to victory in 2005, when he received 28 percent of the vote in a Hagerstown mayoral election, behind 33 percent for Democrat William M. Breichner and 39 percent for Republican Dick Trump.

Maryland state law apparently wouldn't have let Munson appear on the ballot as a Democrat against Shank in the general election.

A candidate who loses in a primary can't have his name appear on a general-election ballot.

After reaching his final decision not to pursue the race further, Munson said he needed time to think and talk about his future with people close to him.

Told later about Munson's full decision, Shank said he respects it and thinks it's best for the Republican Party and the residents of Washington County.

Another campaign battle in the general election "would not have been a pleasant one," Shank said.

"Now is the time that parties need to pull together and work for their standard bearer," which, for Republicans this year, also means trying to get Robert L. Ehrlich elected governor, Shank said.

But Munson said he will not line up behind Shank or help with his transition to the Senate.

"I don't dislike Chris, but I deeply disrespect him," he said.

Munson called Shank's campaign mailings about him "putrid, vile and chock full of lies."

"He probably will be the most ineffective legislator Washington County has ever seen," he said.

Munson said he heard secondhand that Shank wanted him to have a heart attack, a stroke or a mental breakdown during the campaign.

Shank adamantly denied that allegation.

"I'm a Christian and I do not wish harm on anyone," he said. "I wish him only peace."

Shank said he thinks Munson has much more to contribute to Washington County and hopes he does.

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