(Nov. 7, 2014) Maryland has a new governor, and Worcester County has the same state senator, one new and one returning member of the House of Delegates, the same state’s attorney, and a majority of new county commissioners.
Voters consistently saw red in Worcester, even though Republicans had only the slightest numerical advantage over Democrats as of the final day of registration.
Larry Hogan handily defeated Anthony Brown to become Governor of Maryland, and especially so in Worcester County, where voters preferred him by a more than 2-to-1 margin, according to the first unofficial reports from the state.
Only Andy Harris, who won more than 70 percent of the vote in his district, did worse in Worcester County than he did elsewhere in Maryland, winning by an overall total of 64.5 to 35.5 percent for challenger Bill Tilghman.
Democratic Sen. Brian E. Frosh defeated Republican Jeffrey N. Pritzker in the Md. attorney general race, winning 55.5 percent of the vote. In Worcester County, however, Pritzker won more than 61 percent of the vote.
Likewise, Comptroller Peter Franchot, another Democrat, easily won reelection with 62.5 percent of the statewide vote over Republican challenger William H. Campbell. But in Worcester County, Campbell won more than 55 percent of the vote.
One Democrat who did apparently survive the GOP juggernaut was Sen. Jim Mathias in the District 38 state senate race. Campaign manager Brian Kemmet said the senator was “cautiously optimistic,” owing to Mathias’ approximately 1,200-vote lead with around 1,800 absentee ballots yet to be canvassed late this week.
Mathias is up against Republican Mike McDermott, who currently serves in the House of Delegates, but will no longer reside in his district due to a re-drawing of the electoral map.
Republican Charles Otto defeated Democrat Percy Purnell to retain his District 38A delegate’s seat, by roughly the same margin Mathias holds over McDermott. Republican Mary Beth Carozza, on the other hand, nearly tripled her opponent Judy Davis’ total to become the first representative of the newly- formed District 38C.
The county commissioners will have four new faces come January. Incumbents Jim Purnell, Judy Boggs and Louise Gulyas are retiring and will be replaced by Diana Purnell, Chip Bertino and Joe Mitrecic, respectively. Commission President Bud Church beat opponent Michael Maykrantz by nearly 1,000 votes, but the real surprise came when Republican Ted Elder, who has run unsuccessfully against incumbent Virgil Shockley several times in the past, was finally able to claim the win by a little more than 100 votes. Madison “Jim” Bunting and Merrill Lockfaw ran unopposed for re-election to their commission seats.
Republican Beau Oglesby was re-elected state’s attorney over Democratic challenger Michael Farlow, and Republican Susan Braniecki easily defeated Democrat Valerie Gaskill for Clerk of the Circuit Court. Reggie Mason, unopposed, was re-elected as Worcester County Sheriff.
More than 35,000 people cast ballots on Election Day in Worcester County, totaling 51.13 percent of registered voters, the eighth-highest turnout in Maryland. Those numbers were lower than the 61.6 percent of voters that showed up in 2012 during the presidential election, but remained higher than the 48.02 percent of voters who turned out in 2010.
For those wanting more, there are only 733 days remaining until the presidential election in 2016. To register to vote, visit www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration.