Foster wins 3-man race to represent First Ward
CHESTERTOWN — David Foster took his campaign for the First Ward to its constituency, knocking on doors and riding his bicycle throughout Chestertown. On Election Day, Tuesday, he stood out in the rain for hours waving to voters. That perseverance paid off. In a closely watched race for the seat currently held by Liz Gross, Foster defeated Gross-endorsed candidate Owen Bailey, 135-104.
The third candidate, Bob Miller, received 38 votes.
The count of 25 absentee ballots and one provisional ballot at 5 p.m. Wednesday would not have changed the outcome of the election.
Two other races were uncontested. Incumbent Chris Cerino received 344 votes in the townwide election for mayor and Ellsworth Tolliver received 27 votes as the sole candidate for the Third Ward, where Sam Shoge opted not to seek a second term.
Cerino, Foster and Tolliver will be sworn in at the first meeting of the Chestertown Mayor and Council in January.
Tolliver said he was “super excited” to represent the Third Ward. His aim over the next four years is to improve and develop the neighborhoods within the ward.
In an email Tuesday night, Cerino said he was looking forward “to working for the next four years to make Chestertown as great a place as it can be.”
He thanked Bailey and Miller for getting involved in the political process, and welcomed Foster and Tolliver “to the team.”
Chestertown has 3,018 registered voters. A total of 379 voters went to the polls Tuesday. At press time Wednesday, election officials had not determined how many of the voters in the First Ward voted. There are 734 registered voters in the First Ward.
About half of the registered voters in the First Ward live in the Heron Point retirement community, which has strict rules about electioneering. Gross is a resident of Heron Point and Miller’s wife is the nurse practitioner there.
While none of the candidates were allowed to actively campaign at Heron Point, Foster rode his bike — advertising his candidacy on poster boards — throughout the retirement community.
He said that outside Heron Point, he knocked on every door twice leading up to the election.
First-term councilwoman Gross announced in July that she would not seek reelection, citing the health of a family member.
Nine days before the election, she publicly endorsed Bailey. In her endorsement, which was published in the Nov. 2 issue of the Kent County
News, Gross said it was most important to her to have youth and energy on the town council.
Bailey is 34, Miller is 64 and Foster is 74.
The candidates themselves did not make age an issue.
In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Foster said he believed his experience — 40 years as an urban planner and civil engineer — was the difference.
“I’d like to think I started it, but by the end of the campaign we were all talking about the same things, attracting more small businesses and young families to Chestertown,” Foster said.
Foster was endorsed by former mayor Elmer Horsey and two former First Ward councilmen, Jim Gatto and Peter Heller.
He expressed appreciation for Bailey and Miller running a professional and friendly campaign, which he said spoke well for Chestertown.
On Tuesday night, Bailey congratulated Foster by telephone. He told the Kent County
News that he believed Foster would do a good job on the council.
Born and raised in Chestertown, Bailey said he would continue to be involved in his hometown. “I’ll keep volunteering my time, keep living here and loving Chestertown,” he said.
Miller also congratulated Foster.
It was a “gentleman’s race,” he said, where each of the candidates brought different skill sets.
In this photo courtesy Pullen For Us, town council candidates, from left, Bob Miller, David Foster and Owen Bailey and congressional candidate Michael Pullen stand outside the Chestertown firehouse greeting voters on Election Day, Tuesday.
Election tech Mark Miller hands the results from Tuesday’s election to Town of Chestertown Clerk Jen Mulligan. Also pictured are Bob Ortiz, chairman of the town’s board of supervisors of elections, and election tech Marilyn Snowden.