- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Candidates in the hotly contested Democratic primary to unseat U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella, Maryland Republican, are hoping that voters' sense of patriotism and democracy will motivate them to go to the polls the day before the anniversary of the terrorist attacks a year ago.
"One possibility is that it will encourage people to participate in an election as they think about the country and their civic obligation," said Ira Shapiro, a former Clinton administration trade official and one of the four candidates in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.
"Our hope is that it [reminds] voters that it was our democracy under attack," said Steve Jost, campaign manager for state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen.
But observers are not sure what effect the date of the primary will have. Never before can they recall an election being held so close to the anniversary of an event, like September 11, that jarred the nation's psyche. There were no elections the week before or after the one-year anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, nor the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"This is like nothing we have ever looked at before," said Herb Smith, a political scientist at McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College), who has followed Maryland politics extensively for years.
Carol Arscott, a pollster for Gonzales/Arscott Research said they have not conducted polling data on the effects of the election on this date, but predicted any effects would not be felt until after the election.
"The commemorations of September 11 are going to take up much of the space in the paper and in the news, and the winners might not receive as big a bounce that they might imagine they would," she said.
The candidates themselves are planning to commemorate the day, but have not narrowed down any of the specifics.
Jay Strell, campaign spokesman for Delegate Mark K. Shriver, said his boss will mark the day in a solemn way. Mr. Shriver was working out of his campaign office last year when the planes struck and after meeting with his family, he and other volunteers went across the street to the Red Cross.
"Remembering the day will definitely play into the process," said Mr. Strell.
Mr. Shapiro recalls wondering whether his sister in New York City was safe, and rushed out of an early morning breakfast meeting. She was all right, but he said the events of the day will be on his mind as he campaigns in the closing days before the primary.
"It is going to be a very somber time, and I think people will be reflecting a lot on the year gone by," he said.
Mr. Jost said the Van Hollen team is anticipating a quieter end to the campaign, not only because of the anniversary of the attacks, but because of religious holidays.
"The District has a sizable Jewish population and Rosh Hashanah [is the weekend before,] so many people will not be taking phone calls or watching television ads," he said. "We have been aware of this and are planning accordingly."
Still, some think voters will disassociate the two days and not realize that it was the same Tuesday as the primary that the nation was attacked.
"The 10th is the 10th and the 11th is the 11th, at least that is how some voters will see it," said Miss Arscott.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide