Hopkins easily wins second term Mayor carries 7 of 8 Annapolis wards

November 03, 1993|By Liz Atwood, Tom Bowman and John A. Morris | Liz Atwood, Tom Bowman and John A. Morris,Staff Writers

Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins coasted to a second term last night by a margin that surprised everyone -- even the victor.

With large numbers of voters turning out, the 68-year-old incumbent garnered 3,766 votes, more than 50 percent more than his nearest competitor, and carried seven of the city's eight wards, losing only in the predominantly black Ward 5 and one precinct in the historic downtown.

"I thought it was going to be closer than it was," Mr. Hopkins said before addressing his supporters at O'Brien's, a popular downtown restaurant.

Former Mayor Dennis Callahan, an independent, finished a distant second with 2,431 votes, trailed by Republican Laurance Vincent, with 2,032.

"I think we were just a little ahead of our time for Annapolis," said Mr. Callahan, 52, who served as mayor from 1985 to 1989 before an embarrassing loss to Mr. Hopkins in the Democratic primary four years ago.

"I know that the last election was not a fluke," Mr. Callahan said before speaking to supporters at the Annapolis Ramada Inn. The results reflect the mood of Annapolis residents, he said.

Though clearly disappointed, Mr. Vincent, 47, who conceded 45 minutes after the polls closed at 8 p.m. during a party at Loew's Annapolis Hotel, showed the sense of humor he has exhibited throughout the campaign.

"Tomorrow we go back to work," said Mr. Vincent, a Main Street clothier who lost to Mr. Hopkins in the general election in 1989. "It's a good thing we have our day jobs."

In the race for eight City Council seats, the seven incumbents were re-elected. In Ward 4, Democrat Shepard Tullier edged out Republican Joseph Sachs, who was appointed this summer to fill a vacancy created when Republican Ruth Gray moved to Westminster.

Political observers attributed Mr. Hopkins' victory to his Annapolis roots and to residents' contentment with how the city is run.

"I think what it says is that the voters are willing -- when someone is doing the job reasonably well -- to let him continue," said Del. John C. Astle, an Annapolis Democrat.

"I had a record to run on," said Mr. Hopkins. "They had no record. They concentrated on attacking me."

Mr. Vincent said a last-minute barrage of official largess put Mr. Hopkins over the top. In the last week, the mayor received credit for persuading Gov. William Donald Schaefer to withhold money for an unpopular jail expansion, announced plans to convert the former Wiley H. Bates High School to a senior center and revealed plans to build an Annapolis museum near the William Paca House.

Mr. Vincent said he had expected Mr. Callahan, a former Democrat, to take votes away from the mayor. Instead, Mr. Callahan and Mr. Vincent apparently split the anti-Hopkins vote.

"It proves that in a small town, it's a beauty contest, not an issues contest," said Mr. Vincent, who has campaigned for the last two years.

Despite support that crossed racial and economic lines, Mr. Callahan said, he could not overcome Mr. Hopkins' support among older and native Annapolis residents.

"Mr. Hopkins obviously knows the formula that's in place for 1993," Mr. Callahan said.

A Ward 6 Republican voting at the Eastport Terrace precinct, said he cast his ballot for Mr. Hopkins, a former newspaper sports editor, because "Al used to umpire my Little League baseball games, taxes didn't go up, and nobody got laid off during that recession."

Mr. Callahan and Mr. Vincent said they had no plans to run again for the city's chief executive office. Only Mr. Callahan, who ran for county executive in 1990, held out the possibility of running again.

"But right now, I just want to get back to business," said Mr. Callahan, who manages a marina in Eastport. "I'm just going to sell boat slips."

Mr. Callahan had banked on turnout among the city's black voters, who make up 30 percent of the city's electorate.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat and a Callahan ally, spent yesterday turning out the vote. He had predicted he would rally 1,000 voters to the polls and nearly met his goal, falling about 100 votes short.

Early in the evening, it was apparent that Mr. Hopkins would retain his job. He said he knew he would win when he saw that he had stayed within 100 votes of winning in the precinct that includes the historic district.

"I felt good," he said.

Mr. Snowden said Mr. Callahan and Mr. Vincent "appealed to the same constituency, upwardly mobile and young voters and new residents."

"Native Annapolitans seemed to go for Hopkins," he said.

"To me this is unbelievable," said Mr. Hopkins, thanking campaign workers and local Democratic officials. "The only thing I can say is, 'Beat Army!' "

Then he launched into a rendition of "I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do," and the crowd quickly joined in.

ANNAPOLIS VOTE MAYOR

;/ MAYOR (vote breakdown by ward): * Incumbent

Ward .. .. .*A. Hopkins (D) .. ..L. Vincent (R) .. ..D. Callahan (I)

JTC Ward 1 .. .. .. ..569 .. .. .. .. ...558 .. .. .. .. .. ..201

Ward 2 .. .. .. ..728 .. .. .. .. ...304 .. .. .. .. .. ..325

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