Ward 7 election is now a contest

Shropshire, a Democrat, allowed to run


Annapolis elections officials have agreed to allow a last-minute Democratic candidate to enter the Ward 7 alderman race, creating a contest in what had seemed a sure win for the Republican candidate.

After the decision by the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections, Democrat Samuel Shropshire will face Republican Laura Townsend for the nod to represent the ward that runs along Bay Ridge Avenue.

The two will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.

Townsend won the Republican primary last month, defeating Alderman Michael W. Fox. No Democrat was on the ballot.

City elections officials disqualified Democratic candidate Arlene Berlin before the primary because Shropshire, who at the time was the elected chairman of the city Democratic Central Committee, was her campaign treasurer. His term, he said, ended with the primary.

The political committee then chose Shropshire to fill the vacant spot on the general election ballot.

Elections officials agreed last week to place him on the general election ballot over objections from Republicans, who argued that Democrats lost the opportunity to field a candidate for Ward 7 when Berlin was disqualified.

Shropshire said the law that allows political party central committees to nominate candidates is not entirely clear.

But, he said: "The people should have a choice."

Shropshire, 57, is the executive director of the Simplicity Forum, which advocates a focus away from consumerism and toward a financially responsible, simpler lifestyle.

Townsend said she was surprised to have an opponent in the general election.

"I have been doing the same thing I have been doing all along - getting out in the community and talking to folks," she said.

Townsend, 39, a fundraising research manager for Catholic Relief Services, is a former member of the city's Republican Central Committee.

The ward, one of eight in the city, has just under 3,500 registered voters. It is on a peninsula, where traffic congestion and development are key issues. Both candidates said they will focus on those issues and related concerns.


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