- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland Delegate Peter Franchot won the Democratic nomination for state comptroller, handing incumbent William Donald Schaefer the first defeat of his 51-year political career.

Mr. Schaefer, 84, who was seeking a third term and had served eight years as governor and 16 as Baltimore mayor, made an early departure from his election-night party without comment, and discouraged supporters melted away as the returns came in.

At a press conference yesterday, Mr. Schaefer said he would send his congratulations to Mr. Franchot.

“The best man won,” Mr. Schaefer said. “He ran a good race, and I wish him well.”

Mr. Franchot edged out Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens in the Tuesday primary with 96 percent of precincts reporting. He had 36 percent of the vote to Mrs. Owens’ 34 percent, while Mr. Schaefer had 30 percent.

In the November election, Mr. Franchot will face Anne McCarthy, a former University of Baltimore business school dean who won a four-way race for the Republican nomination.

Mr. Schaefer, who appeared invincible throughout much of his career, had lost favor with many voters for ogling a young woman at a public meeting and for tirades against immigrants who don’t speak English.

Some observers said he lost any chance of winning with his attacks on Mrs. Owens in the past two weeks. Aides said he spoke out of bitterness because he considered Mrs. Owens a friend and felt betrayed when she decided to run against him. He said she dressed like Mother Hubbard, criticizing her hairstyle, and called her “a prissy little miss.”

Mr. Schaefer said yesterday that he hadn’t expected to lose and joked about running for mayor of Ocean City.

Mr. Schaefer was elected comptroller in November 1998 and re-elected in November 2002.

The Baltimore native began his career in Maryland politics by serving on the Baltimore City Council from 1955 to 1967. He was council president from 1967 to 1971 and mayor from 1971 to 1987. He was governor of Maryland from 1987 to 1995.

Mr. Schaefer received a law degree in 1942 from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He served in the Army during World War II and retired from the reserves with the rank of colonel in 1979.

He is the recipient of many honors, including the President’s Medal from Johns Hopkins University, the Jefferson Award for Public Service by an elected official, the H. Vernon Eney Award from the Maryland Bar Foundation, the Democratic Party’s Distinguished Service Award and the Speaker’s Medallion from the state House for his contributions to Maryland.

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