Races remain tight for QA Commissioners
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.
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.
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.
Republicans gathered at Annie’s in Grasonville to view the result of the primary election.