GOP official denies he took fliers

November 08, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County's Republican Central Committee chairman acknowledges that he trailed volunteers for Democratic state Senate candidate Cynthia H. Cummings, but denies taking her campaign brochures out of newspaper boxes.

Thomas W. Bowen said he and his daughter, Deborah, drove through a south Carroll subdivision behind Cummings volunteers Raymond "Pete" and Pamela Ray as they placed fliers in newspaper boxes. Mr. and Mrs. Ray reported to police that the male passenger in the trailing car removed campaign fliers from the boxes. Mr. Bowen said neither he nor his daughter took fliers.

State police have been investigating the Oct. 30 incident, but said they did not have a report yesterday. Detective Sgt. Michael Davy, head of the criminal investigation unit, said he expected to have some information today.

Cummings volunteer Diana Steppling also told police that a woman followed her on Freedom Avenue near Sykesville Oct. 30 and ripped up brochures she was placing in newspaper boxes.

Two other Cummings volunteers, Wallace and Ann Thompson, reported an encounter with Mr. Bowen's wife, Pat, as they distributed literature Oct. 30, although no apparent illegality occurred.

Mr. Bowen refused to comment yesterday on the incidents reported by the other Cummings volunteers.

Ms. Cummings said the other volunteers also reported the information to state police.

In the incident reported by Mr. and Mrs. Ray, Mr. Bowen said, "We were looking to see who was giving [the literature] out." He said he did not steal the brochures.

"There wasn't anything taken. We just looked at it in the box and verified that that was what it was," Mr. Bowen said.

Deborah Bowen did not return a telephone call yesterday.

Ms. Steppling said she was followed on foot along Freedom Avenue by a woman she described as "foulmouthed and out of control."

Ms. Steppling said the woman cursed her, removed campaign fliers and ripped them apart, tossing them on a lawn. The volunteer said the woman appeared very agitated and did not give clear answers when Ms. Steppling asked what bothered the woman about Ms. Cummings' views.

Mrs. Thompson, a teacher at Freedom Elementary School, said she and her husband know Mr. and Mrs. Bowen socially and their daughter Deborah had been one of her students.

Mrs. Thompson said that as she and her husband approached the Bowen house Oct. 30, Mrs. Bowen told them she was disgusted by the sight of the political activity on Sunday. The teacher said Mrs. Bowen repeated at a later encounter in a supermarket that she found it disgusting that volunteers would distribute campaign brochures on Sunday.

Mrs. Thompson said she and her husband are churchgoers.

"We felt like we had as much right to pass it out on Sunday as many Republicans who were passing out [brochures] on Sunday," she said. "But I don't think there was anything illegal [in the encounter]."

Ms. Cummings is running against Republican State Sen. Larry E. Haines.

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