State Digest

STATE DIGEST

December 05, 2006

Recount sought in District 31 race

An Anne Arundel County Democrat who lost her House of Delegates race by 28 votes said yesterday that she will seek a recount of absentee and provisional ballots and felt confident she would emerge the winner.

Del. Joan Cadden of District 31 said she would file a petition Friday and put up a bond in the range of $10,000 to the county Circuit Court to cover the cost of the recount. However, if Republican Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr.'s margin of victory remains within 31 votes - equivalent to one-tenth of 1 percent of votes cast - or the election is overturned, the state will incur the cost of the recount.

The state must certify the election results by next Tuesday.

Cadden, who has served in the House since 1991, said the hand recount would involve about 2,500 paper provisional and absentee ballots. The tally will be done by county elections officials.

Dwyer, of Glen Burnie, beat Cadden, of Brooklyn Park, for the third of three delegate seats in the district. She led by nearly 600 votes after Election Day, but by only 30 after absentee ballots were counted. The provisional ballots - cast by voters whose eligibility must be verified after the election - put Dwyer in the lead.

Optical scanners recorded the paper absentee and provision ballots. "The scanners do make mistakes. There is an opportunity to pick up those 28 votes," she said.

Cadden, who chairs the powerful capital budget subcommittee for the House Appropriations Committee, said Democrats and Republicans across the state have encouraged her to seek a recount.

Dwyer, one of the most conservative lawmakers in the General Assembly, predicted the recount will not change the outcome. "I feel sorry for Delegate Cadden that this is what she has to do to clear her name," he said.

He added: "As far as I am concerned, I've been re-elected."

Cadden's pursuit of a recount comes after she and Barbara D. Samorajczyk, a fellow Democrat running for a House seat in District 30, dropped a court appeal Friday that sought to count 244 provisional ballots that the county elections board had thrown out.

Samorajczyk conceded Friday to Republican Ronald A. George, who prevailed by 53 votes. In a statement, the former two-term County Council member offered her congratulations to George, an Annapolis jewelry maker.

Phillip McGowan

Annapolis

O'Malley set to announce two staff appointments

Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley plans to announce this morning that Baltimore Deputy Mayor Jeanne D. Hitchcock, an attorney and former chief operating officer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will be his appointments secretary in Annapolis.

Rick Abbruzzese, an O'Malley spokesman, confirmed that the governor-elect is also expected to introduce Joseph C. Bryce, associate vice chancellor for government relations for the University System of Maryland, as his senior policy and legislative adviser. No stranger to the State House, Bryce served previously as chief legislative officer to former Gov. Parris N. Glendening and was legislative assistant to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.

As deputy mayor, Hitchcock, who will be charged with helping O'Malley fill top jobs across state government, served as the city's chief lobbyist. She has worked as the mayor's liaison to state and federal agencies, the City Council and with government-related groups across the country, according to a biography on the city Web site.

Hitchcock, a former assistant attorney general, is a graduate of Morgan State University. She received her law degree from the University of Maryland.

Bryce holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. His bachelor's degree in government and politics is from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Jennifer Skalka

Washington

Hopkins administrator named George Washington U. president

The No. 2 administrator at the Johns Hopkins University has been named president of George Washington University in Washington, according to George Washington's student newspaper.

Steven Knapp served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs since 1996, according to Hopkins' Web site. Previously, he was dean of the university's School of Arts and Sciences. He came to Hopkins from the University of California in Berkeley in 1994.

George Washington's board of trustees unanimously approved Knapp as the successor to outgoing President Stephen J. Trachtenberg, the paper reported yesterday.

Nicole Fuller

Rockville

SUV hits gas meter, causes explosion, fire at apartments

An out-of-control vehicle hit a gas meter outside an apartment building yesterday, igniting an explosion and fire that damaged about 10 units in the complex, authorities said.

The driver suffered a seizure before her BMW sport utility vehicle slammed into the building of townhouse-style apartments about 9:15 a.m., said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department.

"She made a bull's-eye on the gas meter," Piringer said.

A 37-year-old female resident suffered serious injuries and was taken to an area hospital, he said. The driver was taken to a hospital in the region but was expected to be treated and released.

Associated Press

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