Preliminary results are in after Dorchester County voters cast their ballots by mail and in person, during a week of early voting, and on primary election day Tuesday, July 19. While a number of races have been unofficially decided, the final outcome is expected to be certified the week of Aug. 8.
Local party races to learn who will run in the Nov. 8 general election covered offices and representatives including County Council Districts 1 through 5, sheriff, state's attorney, Circuit Court judge and clerk, register of wills, Orphans Court judge, Republican and Democratic Central Committee, and the Board of Education District 4.
Local voters also weighed in on choices for governor, comptroller, attorney general, US Senator, District 1 U.S. Representative, MD District 37 State Senator and District 37A and 37B House Delegates.
Two political newcomers appear to have won Council primary contests. By Monday, July 25, Rob Kramer Jr. of District 1 and Mike Detmer of District 5 had clear majorities over several competitors.
Kramer, of Hudson, a lifelong county resident, owns Kramer Welding, REK Firearms, both of which he started in his garage, and a rental property business. He's also been a Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company engineer for seven years, and is a search and rescue member of the Mid-Shore and American Power Boat Association Region 4Dive Teams. This was his first experience running for elected office.
Urged by numerous people to throw his hat in the ring, and hoping to be a force for "positive, legitimate change" in dealing with the many state and federal regulations affecting the county, Kramer decided to go ahead. (A few weeks prior to filing, he and Detmer happened to meet socially for dinner and ended up spending three hours discussing what they could do if they ran, Kramer recalled).
One area of focus where Kramer is eager to bring his "overall common sense" approach is the hiring of additional deputies in the sheriff's office, which hasn't hired additional deputies to keep pace with population growth, he said.
Detmer, likewise raised and currently residing in the county and seeking office for the first time, served in Fallujah, Iraq, with the U.S. Marine Corps, and has been an educator, journalist and citizen active in local politics.
On social media Detmer expressed being "honored and humbled" by the unofficial results, and gratitude for many of his life's blessings, counting among them, The Almighty, his family, friends and supporters. He recognized numerous community leaders who had inspired and supported him, for their "leadership, vision, and tenacity in promoting the best for your community and neighbors."
Detmer also extended a special note of gratitude to his primary opponents Tom Bradshaw and William Layton.
"You are gentlemen, and it was an honor and relief to be able to run a clean campaign on the issues. I always felt that the quality of the Republican field was as great for the voters in our district as it was challenging for us. I know you each have more good work to do in the community. I'm looking forward to working with you," Detmer noted.
In District 3's Democratic Primary, Incumbent Ricky Travers prevailed over challenger Grady Wilson Jr. Travers was first appointed to fill the remainder of Dr. Tom Flowers' term, and has won reelection since, serving a total of 17 years.
Incumbent interim State's Attorney Amanda Rae Leonard was also leading her Republican challengers Molly W. Fox and Kenneth E. Thalheimer. Incumbent Circuit Court Clerk Amy J. Craig came out ahead of opponent William N. Windsor.
For the Board of Ed's District 4 race, the two top vote getters in a field of four candidates were Meghan B. McCarter and current board vice president Sheri Robinson Hubbard.
Incumbent District 1 U.S. House Representative Republican Andy Harris, who ran unopposed, will be faced in November's election by Heather R. Mizeur, who defeated Dave Harden by a two to one margin.
In some cases, county voters agreed with statewide electoral outcomes, giving the winning Republican Gubernatorial Dan Cox of Frederick a commanding margin of victory over nearest challenger Hogan cabinet commerce secretary Kelly Schultz, and handing Republican Attorney General candidate Michael Anthony Peroutka a clear majority over opponent Jim Shalleck.
On the Democratic side, while political newcomer Wes Moore appeared to have come in first statewide, Comptroller Peter Franchot won the majority of Dorchester votes, and was trailed by Moore and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
Similarly, in the Attorney General race, while U.S. District 4 Representative and former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown appears to have won Maryland overall, his closest challenger, former Baltimore judge and state First Lady Katherine Curran O'Malley, garnered the most Dorchester votes.
A first mail-in canvass, or count, open to public observers, took place Thursday, July 21.
The required provisional ballot canvass will be held Wednesday, July 27.
According to the Maryland State Election Board website:
"A provisional ballot allows someone who thinks he or she is an eligible voter to vote. If the local board of elections determines that the provisional voter is registered and eligible to vote in Maryland and vote a provisional ballot, the ballot will be counted. If the voter is not eligible to vote a provisional ballot, the ballot may be rejected. A provisional ballot is not an alternative to the electronic voting system.
“Provisional ballots are counted even if they will not change the outcome of an election."
The second and final mail-in vote count happens Friday, July 29, in Room 110 at the County Office Building beginning at 10 a.m.
For the latest election results information, visit docomdelections.org or call 410-228-2560.