- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Though a host of congressional and local seats were at stake throughout Maryland, talk outside the voting booths on primary day centered, as expected, around the top four choices for president.
"I voted for the man I like. I think he's gonna do a good job," said one elderly College Park man, who would not give his name. "Gore. He's my man."
He added: "I don't like that other, what's his name? Bush? He doesn't know what he's talking about half the time."
Yesterday's good weather and the opening of the Republican primary to independents for the first time pumped up turnout across the state. State elections administrator Linda Lamone predicted about 42 percent of registered voters would cast ballots by the time polls closed at 8 p.m., based on historical trends, news coverage and the sunny skies.
Independents "deserve a voice too," said Democrat David Durfee Jr., 42, a Baltimore lawyer. "By denying them the right to vote in primaries, they're being disenfranchised."
Republican Tom Moloney-Harmon, 43, an engineer from Baltimore, disagreed.
"It doesn't make any sense. What's the point of any organization if outsiders can come in and dictate results? Why don't we let Canadians in and vote while we're at it?"
Independents make up about 12 percent of registered voters in Maryland.
In Anne Arundel County, precinct workers at George Fox Middle School in Pasadena said that voter turnout was about normal for a primary, and that independents did not make much of a showing.
Shirley Bowen, 77, said the campaigns of the two Democrats, Vice President Al Gore and former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, were "pretty good."
"They don't have as much bickering as the Republicans," added Mrs. Bowen, a Democrat.
"Maryland might be fairly tight" in the presidential race, said Bill Bush, a 35-year-old Anne Arundel banker who voted in the Republican primary.
Mr. Bush, no relation to Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, said he was unfamiliar with the eight Republican candidates hoping to challenge Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a Democrat, in November. "I don't know anything about them."
Voters who turned out in Prince George's County were overwhelmingly Democrats, not very surprising in a county where registered Republicans are outnumbered by about 4-to-1.
"I'm a working man. I'm just here to support the Democrats," said Henry Tharps Sr., who cast his primary vote for Mr. Gore. "I have no real love for him. He's just for the Democratic Party."
One Democrat outside Paint Branch Elementary hinted that he would vote for Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican, if it was possible to cross party lines in this primary. As a World War II veteran, the man said he admires Mr. McCain's service in the Vietnam War. He also liked Mr. McCain's straight talk.
"I think McCain has more of a chance of beating Gore" than Mr. Bush, he said.
Maurice Ettienne, 61, of Upper Marlboro said it was a local candidate that he was more anxious to support: Rep. Albert Wynn, a Democrat from Prince George's County.
"He always brings job fairs for the kids and he has always come to the town meetings to get our input," Mr. Ettienne said while leaving Largo High School.
In Montgomery County, museum adviser Donna McKee, 50, just felt she should carry out her civic duty.
"I'd feel horrible if someone evil got elected and I didn't vote," said Mrs. McKee, 50, who lives in Kensington. "I don't understand people who don't vote."
Independent voter Nancy Sorden, 50, also of Kensington echoed those sentiments.
"It is important to vote," she said. "In the past, I haven't been able to vote in the primary."
Montgomery County resident Gerhard Wolff, 71, voted "because I think it's my duty to vote," he said. "There were terrible choices. None of them are any good. I voted for the best of evils."
Added James Young, a 90-year-old retiree from College Park: "I don't like … one of them."

Arlo Wagner contributed to this story, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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