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Cecil County Election: Adams Wins GOP Primary for Sheriff; Sutton Strikes Out in Third Bid for Office

June 25, 2014
By Nancy Schwerzler

Cecil County Republican voters overwhelmingly chose Scott Adams for Sheriff on Tuesday, rejecting the third try for the job by Chris Sutton. Sutton had previously run twice as a Democrat but switched to the Republican party before filing this time as a candidate to replace the retiring Sheriff Barry Janney.

Adams, a sergeant with the Sheriff’s Department, fielded a “team” of law enforcement veterans to join him in leading the agency in the future and he campaigned as the leader of that team.

Adams will face Danny Blackburn, a Democrat who won his party’s primary Tuesday, in the November general election. Blackburn, a former member of the county Sheriff’s Department, retired from the agency in the late 1990s after reaching the chief deputy position, considered the second-ranking post in the department.

The race for Cecil County Sheriff, always one of the most contentious fights in local politics, began over a year ago and included big-budget campaigns with signs and billboards cluttering the local landscape as well as extensive use of social media to reach voters with the candidates’ messages.

Sutton, who lost to Janney in the last two elections, had never really stopped campaigning for the post. With Janney’s retirement, he anticipated the third time would be the charm but it ended up as a strike-out.

Adams was endorsed by Janney late in the campaign and sported that endorsement with an add-on label on his campaign signs and billboards. Sutton, a corporal in the department, also fielded his own “team” of senior law enforcement veterans and featured photos of his full team on campaign signs and ads.

Both candidates emphasized the drug abuse crisis in the county as their top priority issue and outlined detailed plans for addressing the problem.

Adams won a commanding 54.5 percent share of the votes cast in the crowded Republican primary contest, with Sutton coming in second place with 27.3 percent. Adams received 3,684 votes while Sutton received 1,848 votes.

Coming in third place was Dan Slater, who ran unsuccessfully against Janney four years ago in the GOP primary. Slater scored 8.9 percent of Tuesday’s primary vote. Also, William Killough received 4.9 percent of the primary tally while Chip Peterson received 4.1 percent.

In the Democratic primary, Blackburn won with 1,118 votes, or 31.5 percent of the total votes cast. Opponent Guy Miller received 883 votes; William Gerczak received 829 votes and Bilton Morgan had 711 votes.

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6 Responses to Cecil County Election: Adams Wins GOP Primary for Sheriff; Sutton Strikes Out in Third Bid for Office

  1. Pete Dawkins on June 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Congratulations to Mr. Adams on his hard fought win. You are being kind by calling this race contentious. All of the campaigns, barring Sutton’s, were clean ones. The spreading of rumors, use of fictitious Facebook accounts, and the outright bullying by some of Mr. Sutton’s supporters was something out of Chicago politics. One would think that having campaigned twice before would have taught Sutton how to do it correctly but I guess not.

    Now word from his own Facebook page is that Sutton is considering an Independent run for Sheriff. Talk about flip flopping. He says he is tired of the Democratic party’s ways on a local and national level and that the local Republicans are too divided on a local level. Huh? Mr. Sutton, more than 3,000 local Republicans rejected you in landslide fashion this past Tuesday. They seem pretty united….

  2. Too Much Government on June 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Congratulations to Deputy Adams who ran a clean race. Maybe Chris Sutton should realize after 3 tries that his forked tongue doesn’t cut the mustard. First, Democrat times 2, then Republican times 1 and now maybe Independent. Nice try but it won’t work. This was a landslide victory for Adams, Dude. Stop while you are ahead– the people are telling you it’s a “NO GO.”

  3. Mike R on June 28, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Am I reading this correctly Pete Dawkins. Sutton may run on the Independent platform. I guess he just doesn’t get the message. You lost three times already. Give up and stop wasting money! It’s just not going to happen. We know who you are and we are not impressed. We also know who your friends are. Get over it!

  4. Joe C on June 29, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I do not want to discourage anyone from running for office , but unless the election law has changed, I believe Mr. Suttons only option would be to run as a write-in, but that has had a very low success level, except for Alaska a few years back.

    Editor’s Note: Yes, Joe you are correct. Maryland election law has a “sore loser” provision that bars a candidate who previously appeared on the ballot in a party primary from filing a certificate of candidacy to run as an Independent whose name would appear on the November general election ballot. (There is an exception only for judicial candidates.) So the only option would be to file a certificate of candidacy as a write-in candidate, which would require the elections board to count your write-in votes. If no certificate of candidacy is filed, the board does not have to count and tally the names and vote numbers of write-in candidates.

    • Joe C on June 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you for the updated research! I did not recall the law ever being changed.

  5. Beansu11 on June 30, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I give sutton credit for his determination and desire to want to change Cecil county. I do not give credit to the dirty politics created by supporters of all candidates. Shame on those who sit Idely by and ride coat tails!

    I leave you with this quote to read and read again. Perhaps maybe you will be able to process this and actually appreciate those who do put their hats in the ring vs anonymous post inaccurate statements, attempt a character assassination, including the Whig who also should be ashamed of themselves for the poor journalism. It’s as if this county is a giant high school full of adults who did not grow up. God bless whoever is elected to office because it’s an impossible job to lead fools!

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    -Theodore Roosevelt

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