PRINCESS ANNE — Incumbents — and unopposed newcomers — won the day for seats in Somerset County government following early voting, voting on general election day, and the first canvass last Thursday of mail-in ballots.
The only contested local race that wasn’t a runaway for an incumbent was for County Commissioner in District 5, with three-term Democrat Randy Laird posting 767 votes (58%) to Republican challenger Tim Howlett’s 564 (42%).
Although there are 257 provisional and mail-in ballots to count this week on Wednesday, and up to 158 mail-in ballots on Friday, the outcome in District 5 is not expected to change when results are certified.
Overall voter turnout in the county was 46%.
Republican Commissioner Charles Laird in District 4 sailed into a second term overwhelming his Democrat challenger Deborah Nissley with 78% of the vote as of last Thursday (1498-404).
Likewise in District 3, Republican Eldon Willing was given a mandate for a second term with 1031 votes (68%) as he defeated Democrat Orlondo Dell Taylor (475 votes/32%).
Mr. Taylor, a Princess Anne town commissioner, told residents last week at the town meeting that they could vote for him if they wanted but he was focused on continuing to serve the town as the board’s vice president.
District 1 County Commissioner Craig Mathies Sr., a Democrat, was unopposed for his fourth term and in District 2 Republican Darryl Webster had no opposition in the general election after defeating Caleb Shores in the primary. Incumbent Democrat Rex Simpkins did not seek re-election to a fifth term.
Clerk of the Circuit Court Charles Horner, a Republican, took 68% of the vote to defeat Democrat challenger Lisa Stacey for his third term. Others in the courthouse — Register of Wills Keith Ward, Orphans Court Judges Kathleen Crossan, Libby Hall and Stephen Willing, and State’s Attorney Wess Garner — were all unopposed. They are also all Republican.
There was no Democrat challenger for Sheriff Ronnie Howard, who after defeating Lee Brumley in the Republican primary is now set for his fourth term.
For the three school board seats before the voters, Bill McInturff in District 3 was unopposed to continue for a full four years after being appointed in 2021 to complete Bobby Wells’ term. In Districts 1 and 5, incumbents Penny Nicholson and Margo Green Gale decided to not see re-election and they will be succeeded by Andrew Gleason and Allen C. Ford, respectively, who ran unopposed for the non-partisan position.
In District 38, Democrat challenger Michele Gregory conceded to incumbent Republican Mary Beth Carozza who will serve a third term after gaining 68% of the vote. In District 38A Republican incumbent Delegate Charles Otto defeated Democrat Todd Nock with 64% of the vote and will start a fourth term.
For Congress, 62% of Somerset County voters pulled for incumbent Republican Andy Harris over challengers Heather Mizeur, a Democrat, and Daniel Frank Thibeault, the Libertarian. He was re-elected to a seventh two-year term.
From there Somerset County voters veered away from the majority of the statewide electorate. As Marylanders by a 60% majority elected Democrat Wes Moore to be the first Black governor, Republican Delegate Dan Cox received 62% of the votes here.
Moore, a Johns Hopkins University graduate, Rhodes Scholar, Army combat veteran, former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation and bestselling author, will be joined by Lt. Gov.-elect Aruna Miller, a Montgomery County delegate and also now the first Indian-American elected to that post. They succeed term-limited Republicans Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.
Other Democrat candidates elected by statewide margins but rejected by Somerset County voters included Comptroller Brooke Lierman who succeeds Peter Franchot and Attorney General Anthony Brown who succeeds Brian Frosh.
Returned to the U.S. Senate was Chris Van Hollen.
Had Somerset County voters decided these races Republicans Barry Glassman would be comptroller, Michael Anthony Peroutka would be attorney general and Chris Chaffee would be senator.
Also on the ballot were five constitutional amendment questions including the legalization of cannabis which received 60% of the local vote and 62% statewide. Other measures that passed were renaming the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland, imposing a stricter residency requirement for General Assembly candidates, limiting to $25,000 or more when a person may request a jury trial for a civil dispute, and abolishing the Howard County Orphans’ Court so all cases are heard in Circuit Court.