COLLEGE PARK – Maryland is getting a bye – a bye-bye , actually – from presidential candidate George W. Bush Tuesday as he travels by bus to the 2000 Republican Convention this week in Philadelphia.
While his itinerary that day includes appearances in both Charleston, W.Va., and Harrisburg, Pa., the Texas governor will be passing through Hagerstown without stopping.
But state Republican leaders don’t seem to mind.
“We would love to have the governor stop here,” said Ellen Sauerbrey, two- time candidate for governor and state chairman for the Bush campaign. “But based on the time he has, we understand.”
A Bush spokeswoman said the decision was based solely on time constraints.
“That’s something that’s decided way ahead of time,” said Lee Morrison, the spokeswoman. “There is no particular reason.”
Bush traveled to Maryland twice since the year began. He attended a youth and family rally in March and in July attended the NAACP Convention in Baltimore.
Suzanne Knighton, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Republican Party, said state party officials are pleased with the attention Bush has given to the state.
“He’s been here twice before,” she said. “We’re quite satisfied with his record in Maryland.”
A spokeswoman for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, whose district includes Hagerstown, agreed. “We’d like him very much to stop but we understand if he has a schedule to keep,” said Sallie Taylor, the spokeswoman. “We do hope he’ll come back.” Rodney Shoop, Washington County administrator, said he had no immediate reaction to Bush’s plans but added that he “would be honored to have any presidential candidate visit if time permitted.” So that Marylanders don’t feel completely left out, Sauerbrey said the state party is organizing a bus trip to the Bush event in Harrisburg. “We hope to get a good crowd to go,” she said. “But for now we look forward to the day when Maryland will have more electoral votes.” Maryland now has 10 votes for the Electoral College. While Maryland voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and for Bush’s father in 1988, the state usually goes Democratic. However a July 27 Mason-Dixon poll shows that the race between Bush and Vice President Al Gore is too close to call. Sauerbrey hopes Bush will pull ahead in the coming months. “Maryland just might become a battleground state,” Sauerbrey said. “We hope to deliver the state in November.” -30- CNS 07-30-00