Only three weeks to go before the General Election and in this first segment, I will look at the county executive and council races in Frederick County, Maryland. Other than for those voters who have cast their ballots early, the next three weeks are the last chance for candidates to convince voters and for voters to make up their minds.
In 2012, Frederick County voters voted for a change to charter government and will elect a county executive and seven council members in this election.
The county executive race has created the most buzz among the local contests. It promises to be a nail bitter between Democratic candidate Jan Gardner and Republican Blaine Young.
They are polar opposites on how best to manage growth. This issue has dominated the Frederick Commissioner race for over two decades. The result has been less than effective back and forth pendulum swings between the two sides.
The top of the ballot Maryland race for governor is likely to impact this race with Republican Larry Hogan winning Frederick County. However, the most qualified for the position is Democratic Lt. Governor Anthony Brown who will win to become the first African American governor of Maryland.
However, with the Brown campaign running a very low key campaign coupled with a midterm election that produces lower interest than a presidential election, expect turnout to be around 60%.
In a race that is too close to call, Hogan’s win in Frederick County and low voter turnout will aid Blaine Young who will become the first county executive in a razor thin contest. However, do not expect him to garner more than 51% of the vote after four years of questionable actions. Do not be surprised if Jan Garner would emerge victorious – but, it would also be by only a point or two.
This prediction runs counter to a poll being touted by the Frederick County Democratic state central committee who say the numbers the poll they paid for show Jan Gardner winning big.
Frederick County Democrats, who fielded well qualified candidates throughout the ballot, will fare much better than they did in 2010 when they won only two seats out of over 20 positions on the ballot. Those two winners, state delegate Galen Clagett (district 3-a) and state senator Ron Young (district 3) decision not to endorse fellow Democrat Jan Gardner will also contribute to her defeat in such a close race.
However Democrats, will win 2 of the 5 council seats elected by districts. Jessica Fitzwater (district-4) and M.C. Keegan-Ayer (district-3) are the two who will win. Both have conducted strong campaigns and benefit from a Democratic voter registration advantage.
In district 5, Democrat Mark Long, who has run a strong campaign, will lose to Republican Kirby Delauter. In district 1, Republican Ellen Bartlett, benefitting from name recognition of her husband Roscoe who served in congress for twenty years, will prevail over the more qualified Democrat Jerry Donald. Sadly, in district 2, Republican Tony Chmelik will beat Democrat Annette Breiling, who is clearly the better candidate of the two.
With a close election for county executive, the 2 at large council seats will also be a very competitive and almost too close to call contest. Expect Democrats to win one seat and Republicans to win the other, giving the Republicans a slim 4-3 majority of the council.
Republican Bud Otis and Democrat Susan Reeder Jesse are likely to emerge victorious. Otis has run a better campaign than Shreve and his time spent as chief of staff for former twenty year Congressman Roscoe Bartlett will propel him to victory.
Jesse, who has also run a strong campaign, will benefit from being the daughter of well known and liked former county commissioner Bruce Reeder.
However, both Republican county commissioner Billy Shreve and Democrat Linda Marie Norris will be competitive in this race with Norris’s background and experience making her a natural for this position.
It is always the voters who have the final say. Make sure you vote on November 4.