Cecil County Orphans Court Seats Filled in GOP Sweep

November 6, 2018

In one of the few contested races on the November general election ballot in Cecil County, voters returned Carolyn Crouch to the Orphans Court, where she has served for 12 years, and filled two other seats with new judges.

There were four candidates—three Republicans and one Democrat—seeking three available seats on the court.

Crouch, who formerly served with the North East Chamber of Commerce and the county’s homeless shelter for men, is the chief judge of the Orphans Court, which handles probate of wills and settles disputes over estates. She was the top vote-getter, with 27.3 percent of votes cast.

Members of the panel are paid $8,750 a year.

William (Bill) Harris won a seat on the court after spending many years involved in Republican party politics, serving on the GOP Central Committee and as chairman of Governor Hogan’s campaign in Cecil County four years ago. He was rewarded with a job at the state’s Human Resources Administration, after previously serving as chief of staff to state Del. Kevin Hornberger (R-35A). Harris worked in patient bill collections at Union Hospital for many years and is also an ordained minister.

After so many years involved in partisan politics, he will face a new non-partisan role. Although Orphans Court judges are elected with a party designation beneath their name on the ballot, the job itself is considered non-partisan and judges are expected to refrain from partisan political activity. Harris finished third, with 25.9 percent of the vote in the four-way contest.

Another Republican activist, Bob Amato, of Perryville, also won a seat on the court, and will have to give up a seat on the county’s Republican Central Committee, to which he won re-election in the June primary The Central Committee will have to name a replacement for the seat. Amato, who came in second in the court contest, tallied 26.2 percent of the vote. Amato has been active in many GOP political campaigns in the county for many years and is a retired US Treasury agent.

Failing to win a seat on the court, with just 20.4 percent of the vote, was Gary A. Brown, of Chesapeake City. He was no stranger to the Orphans Court when he filed as a candidate to return to the panel, where he previously served from 2002 to 2010. He also worked in banking for many years, including CEO at Cecil Bank before retiring in the 1990s. Brown was the lone Democrat seeking a seat on the court.

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