With just over a week to go until the Nov. 5 election, candidates from several local races are scurrying to get their messages across and clinch more votes. Among the campaign developments in Southern Maryland during the past week:
* Only one candidate for the St. Mary's Board of Education will appear Nov. 1 in a discussion being aired by the St. Mary's County Council of PTAs on Channel 10 about 10:15 p.m.
The council arranged a videotaping for the three school board candidates to give voters a chance to hear them discuss school system topics. Sal Raspa, running unopposed in District 1, could not attend because of a prior commitment. Organizers said both candidates in District 3, Randy Guy and Bill Mattingly, agreed to attend, but only Mattingly showed up.
The group also asked each candidate to repond to three questions, with answers to be posted on its Web site. Only Mattingly responded, council members said. The PTA council does not make endorsements, but legislative co-chairwoman Emily Jackson said voters needed to know that Guy "doesn't seem to have the commitment it takes to be a Board of Education member."
On Friday, Guy said he is dedicated to serving the school system that educated him, his wife and his son. He said he did not get the survey in the mail until Friday. He did not appear at the candidate discussion, he said, because it seemed inappropriate for a nonpartisan race.
"This is a bipartisan job, and you do not commit yourself in your political philosophies at all," Guy said. "We should just be going on our qualifications to serve the people."
* Charles County commissioner candidate Reginald Kearney, a Democrat running in District 3, issued an economic development plan for the county.
He said Charles needs to more aggressively recruit and promote small and minority-owned businesses. The county should establish a minority business development office and ensure that lending institutions serve all members of the community, Kearney said during a news conference Wednesday.
He also recommended supporting more business development in western Charles County. The county in general needs to find more jobs with better wages for all residents within its borders, he said.
Economic development is "the driving base behind everything," Kearney said. "I'm coming to the board to work."
* Republican state delegate candidate James Crawford called Wednesday for an investigation into what he alleges were inappropriate actions by the Charles County state's attorney's office in handling the Nancy Brookbank case.
Last year, a jury found Brookbank guilty of abusing a child she was baby-sitting. In a letter to the Maryland attorney general, Crawford questioned whether prosecutors threatened sheriff's officers who wanted to testify on Brookbank's behalf.
He took no formal position on the jury's verdict but said that "the truth may have been compromised" in Brookbank's trial.
Crawford knows the Brookbank family personally; Nancy Brookbank's husband was the best man in Crawford's daughter's wedding three years ago. Crawford said he spent a long time gathering facts about the case.
He argues that his stance is not politically motivated, even though the prosecutor, State's Attorney Leonard C. Collins Jr., is a Democrat.
"A lot of people are going to label this just a purely political move," he said. "That's not the case. This is the right thing to do."
* George C. Vann of Waldorf said he mailed his papers Friday to become an official write-in candidate for Charles County commissioners president.
He again faces incumbent Murray D. Levy (D-At Large), who soundly defeated Vann, 71 percent to 20 percent, in the September primary election.
In a letter to local newspapers, Vann said he believed the repair work for the Smallwood Drive bridge, which closed the structure for weeks, was scheduled to hurt him politically when he initially announced his candidacy last July. Vann owns an office building at the intersection of Smallwood Drive and Copley Avenue. He had planned to put political signs on the lawn, but the repairs prevented cars from driving by his property.
But on Friday, Vann, who works at Giant Food and Home Depot, said his main reason for filing as a write-in candidate was to give voters a choice.
"It's unfortunate that the Republicans didn't put anybody up," he said. "Someone needs to run against Murray. At least he knows somebody is questioning things, and I think that's healthy for an economy."