Sampson, Taylor vie for Ches. City mayor’s seat
CHESAPEAKE CITY — Former Councilman Rich Taylor III filed for the special mayoral election next month, setting up a two-way race with Councilman Harry Sampson to replace Mayor Dean Geracimos, who announced his departure in August.
After months of heated debate over future land use in the small town, the passage of a controversial parking law and a municipal election that saw a new wave of candidates voted in, Geracimos surprisingly announced that he would step down from his role by the end of the year, citing a growing vision for Chesapeake City that doesn’t fit his own. A special election to fill his seat has been scheduled for Dec. 4.
Whoever wins the December election would have to run again in the town’s regularly scheduled election in May in order to secure a full two-year term. Should Sampson win in December, the mayor and council would have to appoint a replacement council member.
Sampson, a retired PSE&G civil engineer, has been an active member of the town’s government for more than 20 years, serving 12 years on the town council and 11 years on the planning commission. He is currently serving his sixth term on council, where he oversees the town’s water and sewer service, roads, docks and utilities.
Taylor, a budget analyst at Aberdeen Proving Ground and licensed real estate agent, cur r e n t l y serves on the town’s historic district commission, and also previously served on the town council for three terms from 2007 to 2013 and on the planning commission.
Somewhat surprisingly, Council Vice President Frank Vari did not file for the mayoral seat in the special election, despite unsuccessfully running for the seat twice in the past three elections, losing to Geracimos both times.
On Thursday, Vari said that after careful consideration he felt he could “best serve the residents and businesses of the town by serving on council.”
Furthermore, Vari said that he would be supporting Taylor in the special election instead of his current colleague, Sampson.
“I think Rich is well-qualified. His experience in all three places — council, planning and zoning, and historic district — plus a real estate background, makes him a great choice for Chesapeake City,” Vari said.
While he likes Sampson, Vari said that he felt his col- league would too closely follow the vision mapped out by the departing Geracimos.
“I just think we need a change, and Rich will give us a fresh breath of air,” he said.
While Geracimos said last month that he planned to endorse a candidate in the special election, he has yet to publicly do so. Attempts by the Whig on Thursday to reach him were unsuccessful.
Municipal campaign signs are rare in November, but a Dec. 4 special election sparked numerous for both Harry Sampson and Rich Taylor III to pop up in Chesapeake City this week.