Absentees confirm victory for challenger Strasdauskas She overcomes obstacles in Balto. County sheriff race

November 07, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Democrat Anne K. Strasdauskas, the former Baltimore County deputy sheriff who was fired last year, was officially elected sheriff yesterday, with absentee ballots giving her a 4,000-vote win over incumbent Republican Norman M. Pepersack Jr., who fired her.

"From unemployment to $70,000 a year, that's what I accomplished. Tell your readers anything's possible. I have proven it," said Strasdauskas, a former jail guard and speed skater.

She won the election with 112,140 votes to Pepersack's 108,140.

Strasdauskas, 44, was a political neophyte when she began her door-to-door campaign this summer with little cash and signs she had made herself. She came out of obscurity in September when Pepersack released details of pending disciplinary charges against her to a Sun reporter, sparking an inquiry by the state prosecutor and a court battle.

Strasdauskas, who was fired for failing to turn her radio in on time, was able to finance her campaign with several thousand dollars of her money after a Circuit Court judge ordered her reinstated, with 10 months' back pay. After her reinstatement, she resigned to campaign.

Yesterday, Pepersack, 64, who was elected twice, blamed his loss on the turnout of Democratic voters.

"All the Republicans have lost," he said, referring to the county's courthouse races, in which Republicans lost campaigns for Orphans' Court, clerk of the court and register of wills. "It's a shame, but that's politics."

"I don't think my two opponents beat me," he said, referring to "Anne and the Sunpapers." The Sun endorsed Strasdauskas.

Strasdauskas will begin overseeing 67 deputies Dec. 7. She said she will move the sheriff's office to the Towson Circuit Court, which the deputies guard. The office currently is in an old house two blocks away.

The newly elected sheriff said she wants to make other changes, such as seeking free parking and retirement after 20 years for deputies.

She also would like to arrange for trainees to attend Baltimore County's police academy at Dundalk Community College, rather than sending them to police academies in other counties, which was Pepersack's practice.

Pub Date: 11/07/98

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