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 County‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúI am humbled and honored to be part of this historic moment in Cecil County‚Äôs history,‚ÄĚ 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 counts‚ÄĒafter voting hours and days were extended due to the impact of Superstorm Sandy‚ÄĒthrough 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 period‚ÄĒwhen the count was at 5 precincts‚ÄĒdid 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 county‚Äôs 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 county‚Äôs Democratic establishment. Hodge won 55.31 percent of the vote, to Crouse‚Äôs 44.57 percent.
Despite the presidential campaign and lots of local excitement about the historic election‚Äôs transition of Cecil County from a commissioner form of government to charter government‚ÄĒwith a County Executive and a five-member County Council‚ÄĒvoter 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 turnout‚ÄĒincluding the early voting‚ÄĒwas 64.47 percent in this election. (According to state elections data, Cecil County‚Äôs voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election year was 72.4 percent.)
A total of 40,311 votes were cast in Tuesday‚Äôs polling and early voting, and outstanding absentee ballots in Cecil County were likely insufficient to make a change in the local races‚Äô 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 Tuesday‚Äôs 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 county‚Äôs 62,524 eligible voters. (Statewide, early ballots were cast by 430,573 voters, or 11.65 percent of the state‚Äôs 3,694,658 eligible voters.)
Cecil County‚Äôs increasingly conservative voter mood was reflected in the county‚Äôs 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 Obama‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄúNo‚ÄĚ vote to 44 percent ‚ÄúYes‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúNo‚ÄĚ by a tally of 57.5 percent to 42.6 percent in favor of expansion of gaming‚ÄĒdespite the fact that Cecil County is home to the state‚Äôs 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.]