Ex-alderman's wife vs. last-minute entry


Louise Hammond won the Ward 1 Democratic primary yesterday in Annapolis, and could succeed her husband who recently resigned his seat when he took a county job.

In the March 8 general election, Mrs. Hammond, 46, will face the winner of the Republican primary, Sharyn Steffey, 47, a last-minute entry in the race.

The special primary was held because John Hammond resigned from the Board of Alderman to become Anne Arundel County's chief financial officer.

He was barred by the Maryland Constitution from holding both his council seat and a position in county government.

Voter turnout was light.

Of 2,572 registered voters, only 591 went to the polls.

In the Democratic race, Mrs. Hammond received 251 votes, Steve Raabe 166 and Catherine A. Clark 54.

In the Republican race, Mrs. Steffey received 62 votes, Edward Snyder 51 and Louise Beauregard, seven.

Twenty-one absentee ballots will be counted today but they are not expected to change the outcome of the election.

Mrs. Hammond, who had never before sought public office, attributed her victory to the many Ward 1 residents she knows.

"I know a lot of people and have a lot of friends," she said.

Although a Democrat, she shares many of the same opinions as her Republican husband, stressing the city's need for sound financial management and promising to continue historic preservation efforts in downtown.

"The voters must feel that they know what they want," said Ms. Clark of Mrs. Hammond. "I know Louise loves the city and will work hard."

Mrs. Hammond said she will continue to talk with as many voters as possible as she campaigns for the March 8 general election.

But last night, the Hammonds were not thinking about the general election as they celebrated the primary victory.

"My husband thinks that being the spouse of the winner is better than being the winner," Mrs. Hammond said.

Mrs. Steffey, the Republican winner who almost didn't enter the race, was also celebrating.

She filed her candidacy on the last day possible because she wasn't sure she wanted to make a commitment to a political campaign.

Mrs. Steffey said she expects voters will see sharp differences in her positions and those of Mrs. Hammond. She said she wants to work to reconcile the interests of Ward 1 residents and the business community.

"I live in a historic house and I care about historic preservation," she said. "But when I look out of my office on Main Street, I want to see businesses there."

She said she is not worried about running against the wife of the former alderman who held the seat for more than 16 years.

"I really believe the Ward 1 seat belongs to the residents and not to the Hammond family," she said. "The residents of Ward 1 are smart enough to decide who they want."

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