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Shank unseats Munson

September 15, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Linda Altizer, left, Jeff Werner and Susan Bittle react to hearing results from a precinct for Chris Shank at an election party Tuesday held at Next Dimensions.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Del. Christopher B. Shank apparently has won the state Senate seat held for nearly 20 years by Donald F. Munson, although Munson said he is not giving up yet.

Shank dominated Tuesday's Republican primary with about 57 percent of the vote to approximately 43 percent for Munson. The margin appears to be too great for absentee ballots to make a difference.

By winning the primary, Shank would become the new state senator for District 2, which covers most of Washington County. There is no Democratic candidate in the Nov. 2 general election.

"I am very honored and very humbled by those results," Shank, 38, of Hagerstown, said by phone from Next Dimensions near Funkstown, where he held his Primary Night party with supporters.

However, Munson, 72, of Hagerstown, said in a phone interview shortly before midnight that he is not conceding.

He said he is weighing his options before making a decision about his future. That includes the possibility of waging a write-in campaign in the general election.

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Last week, when The Herald-Mail asked Munson if he'd consider a write-in campaign if he lost, he said he would not.

Asked Tuesday night about the change, Munson said, "I just think some very, very bad things are going to happen with Chris Shank as senator."

Shank, however, talked about trying to work with Munson to unite the Republican Party.

With all 45 precincts in District 2 reporting, plus early voting results, Shank had 6,478 votes and Munson had 4,798.

Shank is completing his third term as a delegate in Subdistrict 2B and is the minority whip in the House.

Instead of running for re-election, he waged a primary battle against Munson, accusing him of being too liberal.

Including four terms as a state delegate from 1975 to 1991, Munson has served nearly 36 years in the Maryland General Assembly.

In the GOP primary, Shank focused on Munson's ties to the Democratic majority and his record on illegal immigration, particularly a vote that helped Casa de Maryland, an advocacy group for Latinos and immigrants, get $1 million for a multicultural center.

Munson, who sits on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, has said the vote was a mistake, but otherwise defended his record of getting Washington County its share of state money for decades.

Shank said Tuesday night that he thinks voters responded to his conservative message of less government, less spending and more liberty.

As of Tuesday, 457 absentee ballots in District 2 had been returned to the Washington County Board of Elections, out of 571 that were requested.

The board must receive absentee ballots by Sept. 22 for them to be counted. They must have been postmarked by Sept. 14.

Senators serve four-year terms and are paid $43,000 a year.

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