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