Louise Hammond succeeds her husband in Ward 1

March 09, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

The brass nameplate on the desk of Annapolis' Ward 1 alderman will have to be modified only slightly. Louise Hammond, wife of former Alderman John Hammond, was elected last night to fill her husband's seat.

Mrs. Hammond, a Democrat, defeated the Republican candidate, Sharyn Steffey, capturing 59 percent of the 840 votes cast in the special election.

Turnout was heavier than it had been in last month's primary when only 591 of the ward's 2,572 registered voters went to the polls.

Mrs. Hammond received 497 votes to 343 for Mrs. Steffey. Thirty-five absentee votes were cast and will be counted today.

The vote was close in the city's downtown precinct. There, Mrs. Hammond won 181 votes and Mrs. Steffey 180. One write-in vote was cast for political gadfly Louise Beauregard.

The election was decided by the Murray Hill neighborhood, where Mrs. Hammond lives. In that precinct, she received 316 votes to 163 for Mrs. Steffey.

The special election was held because Mr. Hammond resigned in December to become Anne Arundel County's chief financial officer.

He was barred by the Maryland Constitution from holding both his council seat and a position in county government.

Mrs. Hammond, 45, campaigned on her knowledge of the issues, saying she had learned the job by observing her husband for more than 16 years.

Mrs. Steffey, 46, stressed her business experience as a real estate agent.

Both women campaigned on similar issues -- downtown traffic problems, the need for more police patrols and improving the city's parking situation.

Much of the focus in the monthlong campaign was on the women themselves.

Mrs. Steffey tried to portray herself as an alternative to a "Hammond dynasty" in an effort to reach those voters who were put off by the idea of Mrs. Hammond running for her husband's seat. And both candidates accused each other of conflicts of interest.

Last night, Mrs. Steffey told campaign workers, who gathered at a downtown restaurant, that they had done the best they could. "We'll cry together tomorrow," she said.

Mrs. Steffey said Mrs. Hammond's victory shows that the Ward 1 voters want to see the victor's husband's policies continue.

"I'm pleased," said Mrs. Hammond who celebrated her victory at home. "I think I had a lot of great people who were working for me.

"My treasurer, Joan Kaplan, worked very hard. I think the people in the 1st Ward felt I was familiar with the issues and would represent them well on the council," she said.

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