Duncan performs Heimlich on backer

He aids Queen Anne's official at campaign stop


Stevensville -- Maybe gubernatorial candidate Douglas M. Duncan should change his campaign slogan from "Think Bigger" to "Maryland's Main Squeeze."

Duncan, the Montgomery County executive, performed the Heimlich maneuver on a supporter who choked on a chicken sandwich during lunch yesterday at the Love Point Cafe in Stevensville.

"If this was written down in a script, they'd reject it 'cause you wouldn't believe it," said Queen Anne's County Commissioner Gene M. Ransom III, the grateful recipient of Duncan's efforts.

According to witnesses, Ransom was enjoying his food when a bite got lodged in his throat. "All of a sudden, I couldn't breathe," Ransom said. "I was thinking it would get better, and it didn't."

One of about a dozen people at the table, Duncan jumped up, wrapped his arms around Ransom and thrust his fists into the commissioner's gut three times, Ransom recalled. Out popped the offending chunk of chicken sandwich, and everyone at the table breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Tom Peterson, owner of the cafe, said Duncan's actions showed a human side to the candidate. "I even told Gene, I said, `I guess you owe Doug your life,'" Peterson said.

The stop in Stevensville was part of Duncan's tour of every county in the state and Baltimore. Duncan, a Democrat, announced his bid for governor last week.

Duncan was not available to comment on the incident. "Doug did what anybody would have done in a similar situation," said Jody Couser, Duncan's press secretary. "He's just glad that Commissioner Ransom is doing OK."


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