The results are in! Incumbents John Gehrig and Tony DeLuca retained their seats, and newcomers Peter Buas and Frank Knight will soon join the Ocean City Council.
Buas was the top vote-getter, garnering 1,137 votes. He thanked supporters on his Facebook page late Tuesday night. “Results are in!!! Thank you everyone for all the support,” he said. “I am honored for an opportunity to serve the Town of Ocean City.” Throughout the campaign, Buas, a young lawyer and Ocean City native, emphasized the need to revitalize downtown and support fire, police, and public works officials.
Coming in second was Councilman John Gehrig with 1,036 votes. First elected in 2016, Gehrig has become known as one of the most outspoken members of the council. He is heavily focused on solving the problems on the Boardwalk and preventing events such as H20i from causing trouble in the future. Before seeking office, Gehrig served as President of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce.
The other incumbent in the contest, Councilman Tony DeLuca, rallied 919 votes. Since joining the council in 2014, DeLuca has strongly opposed tax increases and advocated for green team initiatives. He has participated in the cigarette butts and paper straw programs. He thanked the people of Ocean City on social media for giving him another term. “Big “W” last night,” he said. Thank You All!!! Feeling very privileged to serve this great Town!!!”
The final victor was Frank Knight, with 707 votes. Knight entered the campaign just a few weeks ago and earned enough support to secure his spot inside City Hall. Knight has called for strategic planning, repurposing June, and supporting businesses. His wife, Council Secretary Mary Knight, did not seek re-election after 14 years of service. Last month, Knight said that the decisive factor in deciding whether to run was the announcement by Councilman Dennis Dare that he was not seeking a third term. Both of those departures left a void on the council that Mr. Knight said needed to be filled.
Eastman & Hagan
Newcomer Nicholas Eastman came up short with 491 votes. Eastman brought many innovative ideas to the campaign, including proposals to hire more American workers and establish neighborhood watch programs. Despite his loss, Eastman promises to remain an active voice in the community. “The election may now be over and quickly forgotten for many, but not for me. I will continue to bring change to our town,” he said. “I hope to be at every meeting voicing my opinions, making sure that those who supported me will still be heard.”
Candidate Daniel Hagan came in sixth place, with 439 votes. Hagan, a self-proclaimed political outsider, hoped to challenge the Ocean City establishment. Hagan raised numerous concerns about transparency. On Facebook, Hagan addressed the results. “Still cannot understand!!!! But it was a wild ride, and it was a journey as well,” he wrote. “Thank you for everyone’s support.”
Turnout in the election was just 23%, down from 41% in 2016 and 44% in 2018.
Incumbent Mayor Rick Meehan, who has held the office since 2006, was given another two-year term. He ran unopposed and amassed 1,146 votes.
Meehan, the incumbents, and the newly elected council members will hold an organizational meeting on November 5 at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center. During the meeting, there will be an election for Council President and Council Secretary. Currently, Lloyd Martin serves as Council President, and Mary Knight serves as Council Secretary. With Knight exiting, it is unclear who will seek the secretary position. It is also unknown whether Martin will face a challenge as Council President. Following the 2018 election, Councilman Matt James sought the top position but was unsuccessful in his bid.