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Montgomery Seeks to Ensure Safety of Voters;Sniper Fears Might Mean Lower Turnout in County
Baltimore Sun ^ | October 22, 2002 | Jeff Baker

Posted on 10/22/2002 8:35:46 AM PDT by HoosierFather

With more than $7.7 million raised so far, the 8th District in Montgomery and Prince George's counties is the site of the nation's most expensive congressional race. It's also a critical campaign stop in the gubernatorial race.

But all of that cash and campaigning will mean little if voters are too fearful of the Washington-area sniper to go to the polls Nov. 5.

Like everybody else, officials at the Montgomery County Board of Elections are hoping the sniper is caught soon. But if the killer remains at large on Election Day, the county is exploring ways to keep people feeling safe at polling places...

...The shootings have already had an impact on the election season - campaign appearances have been canceled, television ads have been bumped and campaign volunteers have reported anxiety about continuing to go door to door...

...The 8th District race is considered crucial by both national parties in the battle for control of the House. The region is also important for Democrats in statewide races because Montgomery is the state's most populous county...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: dcsniper; ehrlich; governor; maryland; montgomery; princegeorges; townsend
KKT started playing the gun control/family tragedy card against Bob Ehrlich right after the DC sniper situation began to gather momentum. On the face of it, the sniper situation would seem to provide a political boost to KKT in her dead heat race with Ehrlich, as it might bring back some of the gun-hating Dims who have been skeptical of her candidacy.

But, the devil may be in the details or at least at the local polls on election day. The DC sniper shootings started in Montgomery county and have also occurred in Prince Georges county (the 13 year old boy shot at school) in Maryland. The sniper has also moved west and south into the District of Columbia and into rural Virginia on several occasions.

Montgomery and Prince Georges counties are two of the largest in MD, surrounding the northern and eastern borders of DC. But more importantly, they are two of the most Democratic counties in their voting patterns.

In 1998, Paris Glendening got 55% of the vote across the entire state of MD. But, Paris carried over 62% in Montgomery County and over 74% in Prince Georges county. The vote pluralities in these two counties accounted for the total statewide vote plurality (about 160,000 votes) in Glendenings win over Ellen Sauerbrey. Therefore, turnout in these heavily Democrat counties will be absolutely critical to the chances of KKT in the election.

The sniper threat has remained well outside of Ehrlich's political country. Heavily Republican counties favoring Ehrlich are very far north and west of the shooting zones near DC.

While people in the rest of MD are concerned about the DC sniper, they currently do not have the same level of fear that has gripped Montgomery and Prince Georges counties, both Democrat strongholds.

So, it would appear that if the sniper is still on the loose on November 5th, we may observe significant low voter turnout in these 2 counties. And, in a close race that could be decided by only 1 or 2 percentage points, the DC sniper situation could be the deciding factor in the election.

1 posted on 10/22/2002 8:35:47 AM PDT by HoosierFather
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To: KQQL; Coop; southernnorthcarolina; AntiGuv; Torie
I think this might have an appreciable effect on the KKT-Ehrlich race. I hadn't really thought about it before-- only thinking about how this might affect feelings on gun control.
2 posted on 10/22/2002 8:50:40 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative
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To: GraniteStateConservative
I'm a little queasy about speculating on the effects of the sniper on politics, but... the impact could be national, in a subtle way, in that it may tend to crowd politics off of the first page of the papers, and out of the lead on the TV news and talking head shows. Which way this will cut, I have no clue. Probably it works in favor of whichever candidate is leading in a given race. Come-from-behind hopes based on anticipated late advertising blitzes may be frustrated, if nobody's paying attention.

I fully understand the sentiments of those who think political analysis as it relates to this horror is inappropriate, but elections go on regardless. As far as the Maryland race is concerned, I'd think both candidates would be walking on eggshells. Any perception that either of them are attempting to politicize this situation is likely to be dealt with harshly by the electorate.

3 posted on 10/22/2002 9:43:17 AM PDT by southernnorthcarolina
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To: HoosierFather
Your analysis of MD's voting patterns is correct. However, we shouldn't draw too much attention to this fact. The 'RATS would probably accuse the GOP of hiring a sniper to disenfranchise women and minorities voters.
4 posted on 10/22/2002 9:55:54 AM PDT by Kuksool
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To: HoosierFather
Avoid lines at polling places on election day.

Vote Absentee!

5 posted on 10/22/2002 10:10:52 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: southernnorthcarolina
Well KKT has already decided to use it as an issue. I think there's been a small backlash against her because of it.
6 posted on 10/22/2002 10:30:08 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative
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To: HoosierFather
I think terrorism on election day is a concern in general. Not just in the DC area. I hope the gov't is taking this into consideration.
7 posted on 10/22/2002 2:40:37 PM PDT by virgil
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