BULLETIN: Harry Hepbron, ex-Commissioner, Winery Owner, Files for Cecil County Executive
Harry Hepbron, a former two-term Cecil County Commissioner and the founder of the award-winning Dove Valley Vineyards and Winery in Rising Sun, filed his candidacy for Cecil County Executive Friday as a Republican.
Hepbron, a plain-spoken businessman and farmer, enters an increasingly crowded field in the first-ever Cecil County Executive contest.
Other Republicans contending in the GOP primary are first-term County Commissioner Tari Moore (R-2); Pete Pritchard, an unsuccessful candidate for county school board in the past; and Paul Trapani, a political neophyte and owner of a Chesapeake City-area marina. A Democrat, Robert McKnight, the mayor of North East, has also filed for County Executive.
But other candidates may emerge before next week’s 1/11/12, 9 PM deadline to file candidacy papers. An unidentified woman picked up papers for the County Executive race at the Board of Elections office in Elkton on Friday, sources said.
Hepbron is a popular figure in the western area of the county and among farm and business owners countywide. He served two terms as a county commissioner before being defeated by Brian Lockhart (D) in 2006. Hepbron came back to run for his old District 3 seat in the GOP primary in 2010, but came in second to a concerted push by the “Smipkin” political machine in the primary on behalf of Michael Dunn, at the time a legislative aide to Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36). Dunn went on to defeat the incumbent Lockhart in the 2010 general election.
The evolving dynamics of the county executive race—at least so far on the Republican side—indicate that the usually low primary turnout could make 2012 an anything goes prospect.
Cecil County Commissioner Diana Broomell (R-4) is also expected to run for county executive, and has told many people she will file in the next few days.
A crowded GOP primary field—along with the early April primary date—means that people with campaign funds, name recognition, and a political organization will have the advantage in the primary.
Cecil Times will be filing more detailed reports on, and interviews with, candidates—and potential candidates—for county executive and the two County Council seats up for grabs in Districts 1 and 5 in the next few days.