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