(Oct. 31, 2014) Despite not carrying the excitement of a presidential election, there are nonetheless a multitude of important decisions to be made by Worcester County voters with several incumbents retiring, choosing not to run or looking for a different office as well as a crop of newcomers eager to fill the shoes of the old guard.
Starting at the top of the ticket for governor/Lt. governor are Democrats Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman, Republicans Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford and Libertarians Shawn Quinn and Lorenzo Gaztanaga.
Incumbent Democrat Peter Franchot is facing Republican William Campbell for comptroller, there’s a three-way race between Democrat Brian Frosh, Republican Jeffrey Pritzker and Libertarian Leo Wayne Dymowski for the attorney general’s office and Republican Congressman Andy Harris defends his District 1 seat against Bill Tilghman.
A lively contest between incumbent Jim Mathias and Delegate Mike McDermott for the District 38 State Senate seat will be decided. McDermott’s district in the House of Delegates, 38B, has been moved entirely into Wicomico County with the most recent redistricting, obligating him to face either incumbent Republican Delegate Charles Otto in his home district or move up a notch to square off against Mathias.
Worcester voters have two delegate districts: 38A and 38C. This is the first election for the seat representing 38C and the inaugural contest is between Democrat Judy Davis and Republican Mary Beth Carozza. In 38A, former Crisfield mayor Percy Purnell faces incumbent Otto.
Three county commissioners, Judy Boggs, Jim Purnell and Louise Gulyas, are retiring. Sitting Republican Ocean City Councilman Joe Mitrecic is running unopposed for Gulyas’ seat.
In easily the most confusing race on the ticket, Democrat Diana Purnell of Berlin faces Republican Lorraine Purnell-Ayres of Snow Hill for Jim Purnell’s seat in commissioner District 2, otherwise known as the minority majority district.
Democrat Tom Wilson and Republican Chip Bertino show down for Judy Boggs’ chair on the board in the Ocean Pines district. Incumbent Democrat Virgil Shockley once again faces off with Republican Ted Elder in District 4. In District 3, Republican James “Bud” Church competes with Michael Maykrantz for his seat. Running unopposed for County Commissioner are Republicans Merrill Lockfaw Jr. of Pocomoke and Madison “Jim” Bunting, whose district encompasses parts of Ocean Pines and the Showell/Bishopville area.
Incumbent Republican Beau Oglesby squares off against Democrat Michael Farlow for state’s attorney, Democrat Valerie Gaskill faces Republican Susan Braniecki to be the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Charlotte Kerbin Cathell is running unopposed for Register of Wills.
Reggie Mason will get another term as sheriff, since he is also running unopposed.
On the Board of Education, board members in District 4 Scott Baker draws down on Bill Gordy; in District 7 JeriLyn Holston faces incumbent Robert Rothermel Jr., in District 6 Eric Cropper faces incumbent Bob Hulburd and Doug Dryden is running unopposed in District 1.
Voters may approve continuations of Kevin Arthur and Andrea Leahy as a Judges in the Court of Special Appeals At Large.
Voters may choose no more than three of the following for Judges of the Orphan’s Court: incumbents Bill Shockley, Linda Hess, and Dale Smack and challenger J. Franklin Knight.
Two Constitutional Amendments are on the ballot, the first concerns the use of the transportation trust fund; the second concerns special elections to fill off-cycle vacancies in the office equivalent to county executive. The latter does not apply to Worcester, but to charter counties only.