Hornberger Couldn't Carry Baggage Fec Investigation Proves Heavy Burden


September 16, 1990|By Edward H. Shur

How many of you really were surprised by Larry Haines' significant defeat of Sen. Sharon W. Hornberger in Tuesday's Republican primary?

Haines won mainly because he ran a strong campaign, built on the reputation he has earned as one of the county's top Realtors and had support from the large and politically active Church of the Open Door congregation.

Thus the abortion opponent gained from the low turnout.

It's true Hornberger was an incumbent, served as a legislative aide, had PAC support and a long list of statewide endorsements.

But she carried baggage: she was the abortion-rights candidate, and had the specter of an ongoing Federal Elections Commission investigation of the Carroll Republican Central Committee, centering on her handling of 1988 presidential campaign contributions.

While many observers, including Haines, said the FEC probe played no part in the outcome, I'm not so sure. Here's why: *Hornberger lost while other statewide abortion-rights supporters won.

*Frank Rammes, who also is part of the probe, lost his re-election bid to the Central Committee. Other longtime GOP officials, including chairman Don Taylor, also were given the boot.

*Joe Getty, who was vociferous in his denunciations of the actions of Hornberger and Rammes over and over, and pushed for the investigation, won re-election to the committee with the second-highest total.

At any rate, the abortion issue will re-occur in November's general election, when County Commissioner Jeff Griffith faces Haines for the Senate District 5 seat. While both men say the race will be decided on more than one issue, both men know the importance of this emotional topic.

Griffith believes the majority of District 5 voters agree with his abortion-rights stance. It will be interesting to see where his friend, William Donald Schaefer, stands on abortion when the governor finally comes out of hiding and makes good on his promise to let voters know his position. Especially since Griffith expects the governor to campaign for him.

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