These are busy times for the Charles County Democratic Central Committee.

Last month, the 12-member committee selected Murray D. Levy (D), then the president of the Board of County Commissioners, to replace former state delegate Van T. Mitchell, who left the post to take a position in state government. Now, with Levy in Annapolis, the committee must find a replacement for him.

With Monday's deadline passed, three candidates have applied for the position: County Commissioner Wayne Cooper (D-White Plains), businessman and horse farmer Gaylord Hogue and retired federal executive Jack Hurd.

Cooper, 57, of White Plains, has been a county commissioner since 2002 and a Board of Education member for six years before that. He said he has received several letters of support from residents and other public officials and is presumed by some observers to be a front-runner for the position.

"Running county government is a very hard job, you have to be dedicated to your constituents and your employees," he said. "And I'm willing to do that."

Hogue, 57, is a former telecommunications executive from Waldorf who lost out to Levy for the appointment to the House of Delegates. At the time, he called the local Democratic Party "racist" and said there needed to be more black representation in county government. He said he is interested in developing Routes 210 and 5 into business corridors.

Hurd, 62, of Waldorf, retired nine years ago as the director of computer services for the Department of Commerce. He has twice served as campaign manager for sheriff candidate Rex Coffey and has been a member of the Democratic Central Committee. Charles is no longer a rural county, he said, and the commissioners should try to attract more technology companies and government agencies that are relocating from the District.

Neither he nor Hogue has held public office. But Cooper has had his job on the commissioners board for only two years, Hurd said.

"I am a quick learner, and I have an ability to develop team-building," he said. "You know, sure, I have not been a commissioner. But I do not consider myself an amateur."

The central committee has not set a date to interview the candidates, said Chairwoman Edith Patterson.

Dispute Over Recount

In the bayside town of Chesapeake Beach, even the request for an election recount has become contentious.

Joseph W. Johnson, who finished 57 votes behind five-term incumbent Gerald W. Donovan in the town's mayoral race, asked the town for a recount last Thursday.

"I've not heard one word from anybody about the recount," he said. "I think they'd rather eat acid."

Malcolm L. Funn, chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Elections, said no one has asked him to review the 1,438 ballots cast.

"There hasn't been a request," he said. "I haven't received any request for anything."

It turns out, Johnson sent the letter asking for a recount to Eric Blitz, a lawyer who represents the town on most legal matters. Except, that is, legal issues involving things like recounts.

"I recuse myself on all work regarding the election," he said. Blitz said giving legal opinions on the elections of officials who pay his salary might create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Funn said he never received the letter sent to Blitz. Even if he had, Funn said he is not sure he would conduct a recount.

"Looking at the town charter, there is nothing specifying a recount procedure," he said.

In any event, Funn said, a recount would probably just be a waste of time and money.

"We can recount," he said, "but the numbers are still going to be the same."

Historian to Speak

James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War historian, will deliver a lecture titled "The Global Impact of the American Civil War" at 8 p.m. tomorrow in St. Mary's Hall on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland.

McPherson has been on campus this week as the Center for the Study of Democracy's first visiting scholar. The lecture is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the lecture in the Blackistone Room of Anne Arundel Hall.

"People in other countries, especially Britain, believed that democracy and a republican form of government were on trial in the American Civil War," McPherson said of his lecture theme. "Would the United States survive as one nation, or would it break into two or more nations, or collapse into anarchy or tyranny, the unhappy fate of most republics through history?"

McPherson said the triumph of the Union in 1865 and emancipation of slaves had a profound impact on the cause of liberalism in other societies.

"Even though the [Civil War] resolved the issues of union and slavery, it didn't entirely resolve the issues that underlay those two questions," McPherson has observed. "The continuing relevance of those issues, I think, is one reason for the continuing fascination with the Civil War."

Stadium Hearing Resumes

The Charles County commissioners will continue the public information meeting on the proposed minor league baseball stadium in Hughesville at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of the County Government Building, 200 Baltimore St. in La Plata.

Those who signed up but who did not get an opportunity to comment at the Oct. 26 meeting at T.C. Martin Elementary School will be called first to speak Wednesday, followed by anyone who has not addressed the commissioners on this issue. Those who spoke at the previous meeting will not be allowed to make additional statements.

Sign-in for speakers begins at 6 p.m. Speakers are limited to three minutes. Written comments may be presented to the timekeeper.

Poetry Reading

Poet Michael Glaser will read from his collection of works at the "Connections" literary series at the College of Southern Maryland's Leonardtown campus tomorrow. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Building "A" auditorium.

Glaser was recently named Maryland Poet Laureate by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Glaser's latest collection of poetry is "Being a Father." Glaser has been an English professor at St. Mary's College since 1970. He co-founded and directs the bi-annual Literary Festival and the annual "Voices" reading series, providing students and the community with poetry readings and literary salons by nationally known writers.

Admission is $2. Program tickets for the author series can be bought at the door.