Candidate asks sheriff shootout for charity CAMPAIGN 1994

August 05, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Tired of boring Whitewater hearings and eye-glazing political debates over national health insurance? How about an old-fashioned pistol shootout between candidates for sheriff -- Baltimore County style.

Instead of asking for another candidates' forum, Jack McClernan, one of two Democrats gunning for incumbent Republican sheriff Norman M. Pepersack Jr., has proposed a real, smoking gun shootout -- for charity, of course.

The candidates wouldn't be aiming at each other, but at targets on a firing range. After each one fired 100 shots, the loser would contribute $200 to the winner's favorite charity.

The contest would take place during the first week in September, shortly before the Sept. 13 primary.

Sheriff Pepersack, a retired state trooper who was elected sheriff in 1990, said yesterday that he's considering accepting the challenge.

The other candidate, retired county police Capt. Charles W. "Chuck" Norris, has declined to participate. Mr. Norris, who considers himself the Democratic front-runner, said "I don't think it's a professional thing to do. It's not appropriate in today's times."

In Baltimore County, the sheriff is responsible for courthouse security, delivery of court papers, and some prisoner transportation.

The office no longer supervises the county's jail system.

The election contest for county sheriff normally takes a distant back seat in the public mind to races for county executive, council and General Assembly, so the candidates have often searched for new ways to get attention.

Sheriff Pepersack, for example, said he used Wild West-style "wanted posters" as a campaign gimmick when he first ran in 1986.

PD McClernan said the shootout might increase interest in the race.

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