State's Attorney Weathersbee fends off Greiber ELECTION 1994

November 09, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee narrowly beat Republican challenger John R. Greiber last night after a nasty campaign in which the candidates attacked each other's competence and credentials.

With 147 of the 155 precincts counted last night, Mr. Weathersbee had 54 percent of the vote to Mr. Greiber's 46 percent.

Mr. Greiber, who in his campaign called the incumbent a "weak prosecutor" who was too slow to bring cases to trial and too reluctant to seek the death penalty, last night blamed the media for his loss.

"I wanted to bring the issues to the people. He did not. He played the political incumbent and you all let him do it," Mr. Greiber, a 50-year-old lawyer from Annapolis, told reporters at the Republican party at the Holiday Inn on Riva Road outside Annapolis.

Mr. Weathersbee, who was appointed state's attorney in 1988 after 20 years as an assistant and deputy prosecutor, last night credited his victory to his experience. He also said Mr. Greiber was hurt by misleading voters in his campaign and by announcing plans to cut back on the victim assistance office.

"I think it proves that experience counts, that credibility and integrity count," Mr. Weathersbee said.

He added that Mr. Greiber's plan to cut back the victim assistance unit, "demonstrated his lack of experience in the criminal justice system."

Mr. Greiber said in his campaign brochures that he was born in Anne Arundel County. He told political groups he was 49 years old and had spent all but a few years of his life in Maryland. He told reporters he had represented major developers.

As it turned out, Mr. Greiber was born in Baltimore. He was 50 years old, not 49. From 1973 to 1983, he had lived on a Gettysburg horse farm and the only developer he would identify as a client, Towson developer Lawrence J. Rachuba, told reporters Mr. Greiber was his former brother-in-law, but never his lawyer.

In the race for sheriff, Democratic challenger Sgt. George Johnson IV, who commands the county Police Department's robbery unit, beat incumbent Robert G. Pepersack Sr.

Mr. Johnson called his victory "bittersweet" and credited a long, well-organized campaign.

"I really don't know where to begin. Eighteen months ago we started on this journey for the sheriff's office and we worked diligently every day and we worked long, long hours," he said.

In his campaign, Sergeant Johnson adopted the campaign slogan "For the People, Not for the Money," a not-so-subtle attack on the incumbent's controversial pay raise request and his repeated budget battles with county officials.

Mr. Johnson criticized the sheriff for sending deputies to provide security at a fund-raiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Brock in July; for asking state legislators to raise his pay from $42,000 to $63,000; and for overspending the budget allocated by the County Council in each of past three years.

Sheriff Pepersack argued that the state Constitution mandates that his office is supposed to be independent from the County Council. He said that he should have the power to set a budget as he sees fit.

The sheriff, a retired state police sergeant, was credited with improving training for deputies, computerizing the office's operations and meeting with school groups to discourage drug use among children.

Republican Robert Duckworth, the deputy clerk from Crofton, won the race for clerk of the court, left open because the current clerk, Mary Rose, ran unsuccessfully for the state senate in Annapolis' District 30.

He defeated Democrat Janet S. Owens, a former Orphan's Court judge from Millersville, by garnering 53 percent of the vote to Mrs. Owens' 47 percent.

Republican Register of Wills George M. Nutwell, 58, withstood a challenge from Democrat Candace H. Beckett, a 44-year-old lawyer from Cape St. Claire, beating her 60 percent to 40 percent.

Winners in the Orphan's Court race were the three Republican candidates: Elaine M. Furth, 27, of Annapolis, who worked in the register of wills office for three years as a deputy clerk and an auditor; Mary Sellman Jackson, 55, of Davidsonville, a former junior high school teacher who is president of Helping Hand; and Gail Schaffer, 50, of Gambrills, a Republican Party activist and a volunteer coordinator for People Against Child Abuse.

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