They’ll be sworn in, but hope­fully not sworn at

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

So the midterm, the so-called “offyear” elec­tion, is over in St. Mary’s. The votes have all been counted, and there were few sur­prises. Now it’s time for the elected to get to the work of gov­ern­ing and man­ag­ing our tax dol­lars.

Repub­li­cans are in the plu­ral­ity these days, and not sur­pris­ingly, the GOP held sway in ev­ery county of­fice — and made its pres­ence known in the other races. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th), this re­gion’s long­time con­gress­man who is likely headed to the lofty po­si­tion of House ma­jor­ity leader, failed to carry St. Mary’s for a third elec­tion in a row de­spite eas­ily sweep­ing to re-elec­tion dis­trict-wide. Hoyer has been a ma­jor force in the con­tin­ued strength of Naval Air Sta­tion Patux­ent River, St. Mary’s big­gest em­ployer, yet this county hasn’t swung the Me­chan­icsville Demo­crat’s way since he topped Tony O’Don­nell in 2012, in­stead choos­ing Repub­li­cans Chris Chaf­fee, Mark Ar­ness and most re­cently, Wil­liam Devine.

In fact, other than Comptroller Peter Fran­chot (by a ra­zor-thin mar­gin), the only Demo­crat to pass muster with St. Mary’s vot­ers this time was Brian Crosby, who ousted in­cum­bent Del. Deb Rey (R-St. Mary’s) in the race for her Dis­trict 29B seat rep­re­sent­ing the south­ern end of the county. He and his fel­low leg­is­la­tors in the St. Mary’s con­tin­gent to Annapolis — Se­na­tor-elect Jack Bai­ley (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert), Del. Matt Mor­gan (R-St. Mary’s) and Del. Ger­ald W. “Jerry” Clark (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) — will be sworn in on Jan. 9, the first day of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly’s 90-day ses­sion. Bai­ley is the other new­comer among the four, hav­ing elim­i­nated Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) in the GOP pri­mary in June be­fore turn­ing back Demo­cratic chal­lenger Thomas Brewer ear­lier this month.

With St. Mary’s help, Gov. Larry Ho­gan be­came the first Repub­li­can re-elected as gov­er­nor since Theodore McKeldin in 1954. The county also went for the GOP chal­lengers who lost to At­tor­ney Gen­eral Brian Frosh and Sen. Ben Cardin, both Democrats.

There were few changes in the lo­cal ros­ter of politi­cos, which should make get­ting back to busi­ness eas­ier. Com­mis­sioner-elect Eric Colvin (R) won a pri­mary and then a three-way gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign to win the Dis­trict 1 (south county) seat be­ing va­cated af­ter one term by Com­mis­sioner Tom Jar­boe (R), who opted not to try for a sec­ond term. Colvin, a fix­ture with the county’s com­mis­sion for dis­abled per­sons, should hit the ground run­ning with his col­leagues on the still all-GOP board.

Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Randy Guy, Com­mis­sioner Mike He­witt and Com­mis­sioner John O’Con­nor each rolled to a sec­ond term, while Com­mis­sioner Todd Mor­gan was un­op­posed even in the pri­mary for his third and (by law) fi­nal term at the ta­ble. His po­lit­i­cal fu­ture for 2022 and beyond re­mains to be seen.

They will all be sworn in Mon­day start­ing at 6 p.m. in a cer­e­mony at Leonard­town High School’s au­di­to­rium. Join­ing the com­mis­sion­ers in tak­ing the oath of of­fice will be fel­low Repub­li­cans Sher­iff Tim Cameron (for a fourth and, he has said, fi­nal term); Al­bert “Al­lie” Bab­cock, Bill Mat­tingly and Michael R. White as judges of the orphans’ court (Bab­cock and White are in­cum­bents, while Mat­tingly had served a term in the past); Phyl­lis Su­pe­rior as the new reg­is­ter of wills (who had no op­po­si­tion in the pri­mary or gen­eral elec­tion); and Deb­bie Mills Burch as clerk of the cir­cuit court (who won a GOP pri­mary and fended off her Demo­cratic chal­lenger in a rare con­tested race for the post). The two non­par­ti­san mem­bers of the school board who were up for re-elec­tion this year, Karin Bai­ley (wife of the se­na­tor-elect) and Rita Weaver, will also be sworn in. They were un­op­posed through­out the year. So were State’s At­tor­ney Richard Fritz (R) for his sixth and, he says, fi­nal term and Trea­surer Christy Kelly (R) for her sec­ond. They will be rec­og­nized at Mon­day’s cer­e­mony, but not sworn in un­til Jan­uary.

So the com­mis­sion­ers, with one fresh voice among the five, will dig into a num­ber of is­sues, such as the jail ex­pan­sion, new Leonard­town li­brary and se­nior cen­ter, a num­ber of road projects, and much more on the hori­zon yet to be tack­led. Best of luck to them. We’ll all be watch­ing.

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