Voter turnout likely to be key in Annapolis mayor's race 33 percent voted in primary election

November 04, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

In a race between two men with similar stances on issues important to the city, voter turnout today will likely be the key to which one becomes the next mayor of Annapolis.

In the primary election in September, 33 percent of the city's 19,441 registered voters came out by day's end.

Vying today for the opportunity to succeed two-term Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins -- who is prohibited from running for re-election by the City Charter -- are Democrat Dennis M. Callahan and Republican Alderman Dean L. Johnson. In a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1, a higher voter turnout will likely favor Callahan.

In addition, three Democratic incumbents are running for eight other slots on the city council: Louise Hammond in Ward 1, Samuel Gilmer in Ward 3 and Ellen O. Moyer in Ward 8.

In the last week leading up to today's election, Callahan and Johnson crammed in appearances at community meetings, distributed a flurry of last-minute campaign fliers and went knocking on doors to get out the vote.

Both believe the city does not need a revenue authority or a conference center. Both have called for a halt on annexation of county land, which they believe has spiraled out of control, causing congestion and unlimited growth that the city's infrastructure cannot handle.

Both have also voiced objections to a proposal the council is considering, which gives Chesapeake Harbor condominium residents a 10-year tax exemption if they agree to be annexed by the city.

Both campaigns believe that the winner will be chosen based on his perceived management style. Callahan promotes himself as a strong leader with experience as a one-time mayor in the late '80s. Johnson, who has represented Ward 2 for the past eight years, says he's a consensus builder who will get things done.

In the Ward 6 race, Republican businessman James R. Lucas will face write-in candidate Cynthia Carter, an Annapolis native. The Republican Central Committee appointed Lucas to fill Wayne C. Turner's seat after the Republican alderman resigned in September. Both Lucas and Carter are political newcomers.

Incumbent Moyer also faces a tough race in Ward 8 against Robert McWilliams, a Republican who has served as secretary of the Eastport Civic Association.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

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