Samp­son, Tay­lor vie for Ches. City mayor’s seat

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - BY JA­COB OWENS jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

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.

SAMP­SON

TAY­LOR

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