Races re­main tight for QA Com­mis­sion­ers

Record Observer - - Front Page - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME kjaime@ches­pub.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — The Repub­li­can pri­mary for Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers was marked by close races and a num­ber of votes yet to be counted.

For Com­mis­sioner At Large, in­cum­bent Jim Moran and chal­lenger He­len Ben­nett have a mere 25 votes be­tween them. With 81 per­cent of the votes

counted, 2,284 went for the Moran, while 2,259 were cast for Ben­nett.

“Tonight was a great vic­tory for Queen Anne’s County,” said Moran. “We have con­ti­nu­ity, and we re­placed a cen­tral com­mit­tee that was dys­func­tional. I faced a lot of neg­a­tive ads and a lot of money. The race was close, and we have to go through a count, and I’m look­ing for­ward to that.”

Dis­trict 1 saw Jack Wil­son re­tain his seat with 2,204 votes to Joe Gan­non’s 2,092. The slim 112-vote dif­fer­ence gives the in­cum­bent the edge, but un­der­scores how ten­u­ous any seat on the com­mis­sion re­ally is.

“This feels phe­nom­e­nal, be­cause I stressed through­out this cam­paign that this county has a re­set ev­ery four years,” Wil­son said. “This elec­tion is go­ing to put the county on a good road go­ing for­ward be­cause we have this in­flux of new ideas and I’ve al­ways said that’s the best com­bi­na­tion you can have. I’m grate­ful for the cit­i­zens who sup­ported me.”

Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent and Dis­trict 2 Com­mis­sioner Steve Wil­son eas­ily held on to his seat with 2,386 votes to chal­lenger Ge­orge G. Sigler’s 1,673.

Dis­trict 3 saw a num­ber of can­di­dates vy­ing for the seat with for­mer Com­mis­sioner Phil Du­me­nil gar­ner­ing the top spot with 1,785 and Laura Bog­ley-Knick­man com­ing in sec­ond with 1,636 votes. Barry Dona­dio fin­ished in last with a re­spectable 892 votes. Cur­rent Com­mis­sioner Robert Buckey did not seek re-elec­tion.

“I think my ex­pe­ri­ence res­onated with vot­ers tonight,” said Du­me­nil. “I stayed im­mersed in the com­mu­nity even though it wasn’t as an elected of­fi­cial. The next four years are go­ing to be great for the county be­cause of the lead­er­ship it has.”

The big­gest sur­prise of the night came in Dis­trict 4 as chal­lenger Chris Corchiarino un­seated in­cum­bent Mark A. Anderson in a tally of 2,117 to 1,962. While the two were only sep­a­rated by 155 votes, Corchiarino’s strat­egy was to un­der­score the future of the county as one with re­spon­si­ble eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and a con­ser­va­tive fi­nan­cial ap­proach.

“I think vot­ers liked that I ran a clean cam­paign with a pos­i­tive mes­sage,” Corchiarino said. “I’m bring­ing a dif­fer­ent, younger voice to the com­mis­sion­ers. I’m a prod­uct of this county and I have kids in schools in the county and that’s what [touched] vot­ers. All the peo­ple that won tonight just makes it pos­si­ble for us to be a united front for the gen­eral elec­tion.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Queen Anne’s County Board of Elec­tions, 255 ab­sen­tee bal­lots were re­quested and those re­turned re­main to be counted along with 140 pro­vi­sional bal­lots. A to­tal of 7,716 bal­lots were cast in the en­tire county.

For his part, Anderson stressed ad­dress­ing the in­creas­ing traf­fic on Kent Is­land and lim­it­ing the de­vel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ties like the Four Sea­sons planned com­mu­nity for those 55 and older. Anderson also sits on the ad­vi­sory board, along with Jack Wil­son, of the Queen Anne’s County YMCA project first voted on in 2015.

Prior to the pri­mary elec­tions, county com­mis­sion­ers and their chal­lengers largely agreed on many is­sues like re­ject­ing an ad­di­tional Bay Bridge cross­ing on Kent Is­land, sus­tain­ing the county’s AAA bond rat­ing, and look­ing closely at any plans that would add ad­di­tional strain to both area school and emer­gency re­sponse ser­vices with new de­vel­op­ments on the East­ern Shore.

In fo­rums hosted by the Kent Is­land De­fense League and the League of Women Vot­ers, county com­mis­sion­ers and their chal­lengers did clash over low­er­ing the pig­gy­back tax, cit­ing that Queen Anne’s County was taxed at the high­est rate al­lowed by law. In cut­ting the tax rate, Moran noted the county bud­get was al­ready not able to cover all the nec­es­sary ex­penses. Any re­duc­tion of the rate would mean slash­ing a nec­es­sary ser­vice.

Pro­vi­sional bal­lots will be counted on July 5 with the sec­ond round of ab­sen­tee bal­lots will be counted on July 6. The gen­eral elec­tion is sched­uled for Nov. 6 with early vot­ing start­ing from Oct. 25 through Nov. 1.

KRIS­TIAN JAIME

Dis­trict 4 County Com­mis­sioner chal­lenger Chris Corchiarino cel­e­brates his vic­tory with Mike Pick­les, far right, Don Trot­ter, cen­ter, and Cody Leach, far left, dur­ing the Repub­li­can party at An­nie’s in Gra­sonville on pri­mary elec­tion night.

KRIS­TIAN JAIME

In­cum­bent Dis­trict 1 County Com­mis­sioner Jack Wil­son, left, and Ash­ley Moran, right, look over in­com­ing bal­lot re­sults at the Repub­li­can party at An­nie’s on pri­mary elec­tion night.

KRIS­TIAN JAIME

Repub­li­cans gath­ered at An­nie’s in Gra­sonville to view the re­sult of the pri­mary elec­tion.

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