Elkton elects incumbents
Piner, Givens top newcomers Gorman, Zeauskas
— Town voters supported incumbents Charles Givens and Earl Piner in Tuesday’s municipal election, returning the longtime commissioners to the town board amidst a heated race.
Piner and Givens survived a vocal opposition from newcomers Bob Gorman and Chris Zeauskas, who challenged the incumbents on a variety of issues throughout the months-long campaign. Givens received 651 votes and Piner received 634, securing their re- elections. Gorman came in third with 476 votes while Zeauskas finished fourth with 460 votes.
Piner will now serve his fourth term as commissioner while Givens will ser ve his fifth.
This year’s race featured tones closer to 2014’ s mayoral race as Piner and Givens were forced to counter a grassroots campaign by Zeauskas and Gorman with endorsements from Mayor Rob Alt, the Elkton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 124 and much of the business community. Supported by sitting Commissioner DJ VanReenen, who has been a frequent critic of Alt’s administration, Gorman and Zeauskas promised to bring change to Elkton by forming a new potential voting bloc. Ultimately, however, the incumbents won over more of the public.
This election, marked by beautiful weather in an otherwise rainy May and a schedule prior to the Memorial Day weekend, saw an increase of voters compared to the last commissioners elected in 2012, where there were five candidates vying for the two open seats, which included Piner and Givens. In 2012, 639 out of 7,419 registered voters casted votes during the commissioner election.
Givens said he would like to improve communication between elected officials and citizens, increase the number of businesses downtown and also build a town community center.
“I’m happy,” he said Tuesday night about the results. “The people have spoken.”
He said he will continue to support the “We Are Elkton” slogan and work with the board to continue to do “positive things for everyone.”
“I will be a positive influence,” he said.
Givens said he and Piner “fought through a lot of negativity” during the campaign, but stayed positive in their own message.
With a new term, Piner has said he would like to see the eight needed positions within the Elkton Police Department filled, get the community more informed on town issues and finally see his dream of a town community center realized.
“I’m happy with the results,” he said Tuesday.
Piner said he has learned a lot through during the campaign after speaking with different parts of the community, such as the various homeowner’s associations, and hearing their viewpoints on the issues. Piner said he has also learned about the different frustrations that neighborhoods are experiencing.
“I will try to work closer with the associations and different communities to address their needs as a commissioner,” he said.
On Tuesday night, Gorman said he was disappointed that town voters chose to support the status quo instead of seeking change.
“They’re disappointing,” said of the results.
He said he will move on and continue to serve the community as the Grand Knight of the local Knights of Columbus council.
“By losing this election, I won that election,” he said.
Zeauskas also said that upon coming up short that he would focus on other efforts.
“I’m also a little disappointed,” he said about the results.
He said he will “go back to being an average citizen” and continue to manage his business, Premier Colors. Zeauskas said he will also focus on his family.
“I have two little girls I need to raise,” he said.
The election comes a day before the mayor’s budget is scheduled for a public hearing. On June 1, the budget will be considered by the board for a final vote.
he Commissioners Earl Piner and Charles Givens campaign outside of the town hall on Tuesday during the town election.
Commissioner Earl Piner (right) and his colleague Charles Givens share a laugh after learning they won re-election in the Elkton election Tuesday.
Challengers Chris Zeauskas (right) and Bob Gorman react after the final tallies of the Elkton election are announced Tuesday.
Commissioner Earl Piner (right) shakes Chris Zeauskas’ hand while his colleague Charles Givens (center) shakes Bob Gorman’s hand following the Elkton election on Tuesday.
Bob Gorman and Chris Zeauskas campaign outside of the Elkton Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon during the town election.