Cecil County Election Night Wrapup: Moore Wins County Exec; McCarthy Landslides in Council 1st, Hodge Wins 5th– Cecil Refutes State, National Results
Republican Tari Moore made history Tuesday, winning election as Cecil Countyâ€™s first County Executive by defeating her Democratic rival, Pam Howard, with 52.7 percent of the vote. Republican Alan McCarthy overwhelmingly won election to the District 1 County Council seat and incumbent Robert Hodge (R) won a decisive victory to retain his county commissioner seat on the new Council in District 5.
â€śI am humbled and honored to be part of this historic moment in Cecil Countyâ€™s history,â€ť Moore posted on her Facebook wall after the results were tallied.
Cecil County also re-asserted its increasingly conservative voting patterns, rejecting the winning candidacy of President Obama, the senatorial candidate and ballot questions that won support from a majority of voters statewide.
From the tabulation of the early voting countsâ€”after voting hours and days were extended due to the impact of Superstorm Sandyâ€”through the final Tuesday night counts of all 19 county precincts plus the early vote results that are tallied as precinct 20, Moore consistently held the lead in the election returns. Only for a brief periodâ€”when the count was at 5 precinctsâ€”did the County Executive race get neck and neck, but with Moore still in the lead.
The big local winner of the night was Dr. Alan McCarthy, a Chesapeake City veterinarian and businessman, who racked up nearly 70 percent of the vote against Pamela Bailey of Earleville, a secretary at the countyâ€™s School of Technology and two-time loser for county political office.
In District 5, incumbent county commissioner Hodge mounted a general election fundraising blitz, after a low-budget GOP primary campaign, and overpowered James Crouse, the former popular mayor of Elkton with longstanding ties to the countyâ€™s Democratic establishment. Hodge won 55.31 percent of the vote, to Crouseâ€™s 44.57 percent.
Despite the presidential campaign and lots of local excitement about the historic electionâ€™s transition of Cecil County from a commissioner form of government to charter governmentâ€”with a County Executive and a five-member County Councilâ€”voter turnout was lower than in the 2008 presidential/local election.
Evelyn Potter, director of the Cecil County Board of Elections, told Cecil Times that the overall voter turnoutâ€”including the early votingâ€”was 64.47 percent in this election. (According to state elections data, Cecil Countyâ€™s voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election year was 72.4 percent.)
A total of 40,311 votes were cast in Tuesdayâ€™s polling and early voting, and outstanding absentee ballots in Cecil County were likely insufficient to make a change in the local racesâ€™ outcomes. There were 1,648 absentee ballots received, but not yet counted, by the Board of Elections. And there were still 433 potential absentee ballots that were mailed out and could be counted if postmarked by the election deadline. Those ballots will be counted later, beginning as soon as Thursday, Potter said.
During Tuesdayâ€™s Election Day voting, there was a strong initial turnout, with lines at some polling places early in the morning. In Cecilton, poll watchers said there was steady activity until about 11 a.m., longer than the usual morning rush. But by early afternoon, turnout had slacked off and voters moved swiftly through the voting process with no lines.
Potter said most polling places were problem-free, but the Calvert elementary site had persistent difficulties with slow-to-load electronic poll books and the site had lines for much of the day.
In Cecil County, state election officials reported there were 5,891 total ballots cast in early voting, amounting to 9.42 percent of the countyâ€™s 62,524 eligible voters. (Statewide, early ballots were cast by 430,573 voters, or 11.65 percent of the stateâ€™s 3,694,658 eligible voters.)
Cecil Countyâ€™s increasingly conservative voter mood was reflected in the countyâ€™s votes for federal office as well as opinions on statewide ballot questions.
President Barack Obama won the national presidential election and easily carried Maryland. But in Cecil County, Republican Mitt Romney carried local voters, 58.8 percent, to Democrat Obamaâ€™s 38.5 percent of the local electorate.
Incumbent Senator Ben Cardin (D) coasted to victory statewide, but in Cecil County he lost to Republican Dan Bongino, 45% to 36%.
On one of the most controversial ballot questions, Cecil County voters overwhelmingly opposed state recognition of same-sex marriages, by a 56 percent â€śNoâ€ť vote to 44 percent â€śYesâ€ť vote. But statewide, Maryland voters approved the same-sex marriage question by a margin of 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent.
On expansion of casino locations and permission for table games in addition to the currently legal slots machines, Cecil County voters voted â€śNoâ€ť by a tally of 57.5 percent to 42.6 percent in favor of expansion of gamingâ€”despite the fact that Cecil County is home to the stateâ€™s first legal slots parlor and table games would have created new jobs in the county. Statewide, voters approved the gambling expansion by a tally of 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent.
[Cecil Times will have more news and analysis and commentary on the elections in the next few days.]