Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II could face two challengers in municipal elections this year.
Brian D. Caron filed at Wednesday’s deadline to run against Bruchey in the Republican primary April 3.
The winner of that race will square off against Democratic challenger David S. Gysberts, who ran unsuccessfully against Bruchey in the 2009 election. The vote was 1,749 for Bruchey and 1,240 for Gysberts. A write-in candidate received 129 votes.
The general election is Nov. 6.
Caron, who has never held public office, said Thursday that he is a lifelong resident of Hagerstown and would be interested in playing a role in the betterment of the city.
He said a lot of people complain about government, but few do anything to change it.
“I’d just like to bring a little enthusiasm back and a little pride. I think we’ve lost that,” he said.
Although Caron said he does not have a platform, he vowed to “just see what I could do.”
“My decision to run was last minute .... Hopefully, we’ll make a good run for it,” he said.
Caron graduated from South Hagerstown High School and attended Hagerstown Community College.
Caron, 39, of 609 Sunset Ave., operates a printing press at Tri-State Printing on Bester Street in Hagerstown.
Gysberts, 34, of 795 Hamilton Blvd., said Thursday that he is running for mayor because he believes Hagerstown’s best days are still ahead.
“To be clear, I’m not running against any one person; I am running for the city of Hagerstown,” Gysberts said. “Hagerstown needs fresh, bold leadership to move us forward in a positive direction, while maintaining the quality of life that makes Hagerstown so attractive to new residents and businesses.”
He said the mayor has no real power when it comes to voting on the Hagerstown City Council, so the person who gets elected to the post must work to build consensus, resolve conflicts and develop relationships among people “who at times hold vastly different viewpoints.”
Hagerstown is in the “bull’s-eye” for potential developers, and the next four years will be the critical in laying the groundwork for changes that will affect the city for decades to come, he said.
Gysberts said he would donate half of the mayor’s $28,000 annual salary toward a scholarship fund for Hagerstown students.
Gysberts is a member of the Hagerstown Planning Commission and served as the chairman of the Hagerstown Trash and Recycling Task Force.
He said he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, philosophy and education from Salisbury University, and a master’s degree in counseling from West Virginia University.
Gysberts is employed by Montgomery County Public Schools.
Bruchey, 53, said Thursday that the current administration has done a “phenomenal job” during challenging economic times that have seen the city lose $8 million in revenue in the last two fiscal years.
As the economy struggled, the administration has been able to streamline operations, cut expenses and keep taxes low, Bruchey said.
He said he can work effectively on the needs of the city because of his connections in Annapolis.
“It’s been an honor to represent the citizens of Hagerstown and fight for them everyday,” Bruchey said.
Bruchey served as mayor from 1997 to 2001, but was defeated in a bid for re-election. Another attempt fell short in 2005, when he lost to Richard F. Trump.
The five-member city council appointed Bruchey mayor in 2006 after Trump resigned from office less than a year following his election. Bruchey was elected during the city race in 2009.
The typical four-year term that Bruchey would have served was shortened when the council voted in 2009 to change municipal elections to coincide with presidential election years.
Staff Writer Dave McMillion contributed to this story.