Cecil County Council Dist. 1: McCarthy Clobbers Mullin in GOP Race; Bailey Leads Dems

April 3, 2012

(UPDATED 10:59 pm) Dr. Alan McCarthy, a Chesapeake City veterinarian and businessman, overpowered incumbent County Commissioner James Mullin in the Dist. 1 County Council race, in a test of county business leaders versus the political group led by Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-36). McCarthy trounced Mullin, 62-37 percent, with 20 precincts reporting.

Overall voter turnout was called “very low” all day Tuesday by county election officials.

Democrat Pam Bailey had a commanding lead over Garrett Billmire in the Democratic primary in District 1, leading 65-34 percent, with 20 precincts reporting.

Despite his incumbency, Mullin struggled to raise funds to support his own re-election campaign, even as his ally and mentor, Pipkin, poured funds into an aggressive, negative campaign against two other Republicans—Commissioner Robert Hodge (R-5) and Tari Moore (R-2) Hodge is seeking re-election while Moore is running for County Executive.

In contrast, McCarthy, who raised $11,631 from donors and fundraising events, also drew ad support from the new Cecil Business Leaders for Better Government PAC, which placed extensive advertising endorsing McCarthy along with Hodge and Moore.

Mullin won an easy victory four years ago over a non-entity Democratic candidate, with the support of land preservation and anti-growth groups. This year, he cast himself in campaign flyers as “the conservative choice” for the Council.

After supporting the sale of county water and sewer facilities to the private Artesian firm in the past, last year he joined with two other Republican commissioners– as part of the “Three Amigos” faction on the board—to terminate a contract for sale of the sewage plants. As a result, the county faces millions in costs to refurbish aging sewage treatment plants and there is no immediate prospect for extending needed sewage services to the Route 40/I-95 growth corridor.

Mullin has also championed a pending plan for the county to act as a “bank” to purchase land development rights from farmers directly, and eventually sell them to growth-area developers.

As President of the Board of Commissioners, Mullin has often let warring factions of the board battle it out and re-visit and “do-over” decisions previously made by the board.

Mullin has been firmly aligned with the political machine of Pipkin and Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36)—dubbed the “Smipkins”—and his campaign materials were included in baggies distributed around the county along with those of other GOP candidates endorsed by the group. But Mullin had a limited roadside campaign sign presence around the county.

Meanwhile, Dr. McCarthy, who is running his first countwide campaign for elected office, blanketed the county with signs and had paid billboards as well as print advertising. Although he is well known around the county, especially in the farm and equine communities, McCarthy initially was an uneasy politician. But as the campaign wore on, he appeared more at ease on the campaign trail, appearing at candidate forums and meeting one-on-one with voters.

His campaign motto was the same as the business leaders group: “Good government is everyone’s business.” He also pledged to promote economic development and job creation.

The winner of the Republican primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary for the District 1 seat in the November general election.

In the Democratic primary contest, newcomer Garrett Billmire, an Earleville business and farm owner, ran a low-budget campaign that featured one of the more pointed and amusing campaign ads of the season. He urged voters to “pop the Smipkin bubble” as a way to challenge that faction’s current dominance of county government.

His opponent, Pamela Bailey, a county schools secretary, ran as the Democratic nominee against Mullin four years ago and lost overwhelmingly. She drew much of her support in the Democratic primary from backers of Mullin, who figured she’d be an easy candidate for him to defeat in a general election. She was.

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7 Responses to Cecil County Council Dist. 1: McCarthy Clobbers Mullin in GOP Race; Bailey Leads Dems

  1. Patrick Tuer on April 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    People have grown tired of the games. As you can see by the Smipkin lineup getting trounced. Next up, Dunn and Broommell will be trounced next election.

  2. Too much government on April 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Chickens are coming home to roost. It’s not like Mullin had not been warned over and over that he was inept and puppetlike. Another to join the unemployment line in December – couldn’t happen to a better person. The other two puppets should take heed because their time will come.

    Hodge on the other hand still has an uphill battle unless he changes his pompous and demeaning attitude. November will tell the tale. He needs to learn to respect people rather than attempt to bully his way thru programs he knows nothing about. He’s not the genius he thinks he is.

  3. 1Citizen on April 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    QUACK QUACK, MULLIN! You’re an 8-month lame duck!

    The Smipkin machine was built from defective parts!

  4. RB on April 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    You know that old saying, “be careful what you wish for ?”

    As much as some of you like to run down Jim Mullin, you have set up a perfect storm. You’re going to wind up with Moore as the county exec and Hodge running the council. That’s gonna work out real good.

    County assets will be sold in sweet-heart deals (Artesian).

    Lot’s of shady dealing with the good old boys back in the saddle.

    There will be open season on “development,” but no real jobs or local benefits. Heck, you won’t be able to tell where Cecil County ends and New Castle County begins. None of the $$$ will stay in Cecil County.

    You’re going to be asked to foot the bill.

    The quality of life in Cecil County will go down and your taxes will go up.

    Mark my words.

    • Rick O'Shea on April 6, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Same old, same old Smipkin/Broomell talking points. First installment of $300,000.00 for “planning” due on Smigiel-supported Three Amigo destruction of the Artesian deal. Next comes bond interest payments for construction that Artesian would have done for free. Don’t forget upgrades to wastewater plants that Artesian would have paid.

      I would call Broomell’s misrepresentation of issues “shady dealing.” Taxes will surely go up due to lower real estate assessments and the state shifting their responsibilities to the county.

      • A concerned citizen on April 9, 2012 at 12:29 am

        I’m an undeclared voter with no strong feelings for or against Broomell. From what I read– and I read public meeting minutes as well as online and print news– Rick O’Shea’s comment shows a realistic outcome for Cecil County. When business thrives at the expense of quality of life and the environment, taxes go up to deal with this (pollution, road congestion, etc.) while property values go down (wanna buy a place on the water, near the mineral extraction business? Or another home, within walking distance of the newest Meth clinic?)

        Being pro-business can hurt a community if business is given priority over quality of life and the environment. Both Hodge and Moore have publicly voted and/or made comments that suggest they definitely do prioritize business over the environment and over citizen concerns about the negative impact a business may have on their community.

        You know, [former Congressman Wayne] Gilchrest consistently got good reviews from business leaders AND environmental groups, so it is possible to promote business without sacrificing the environment. Moore and Hodge have yet to demonstrate that they care about the environment enough to give it equal priority when dealing with business concerns.

        • Rick O'Shea on April 9, 2012 at 7:16 am

          As a reader of online and print news you surely know that real estate assessments have gone down state-wide due to a downturn in the real estate market. In Cecil County the norm seems to be an 18% drop in the 1/3 of properties re-assessed during the current cycle. As a reader of public meeting minutes , you surely know that violation of the rights of individual and corporate property owners by a majority of the Board of Commissioners for purposes of political revenge, personal bias, or political advantage will be costly when the aggrieved parties sue the county. Unfortunately, the taxpayers will foot the bill instead of Commissioners Broomell, Dunn, and Mullin.

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