CECIL CHATTER: County Exec Race– Coutz Belatedly Dreams Big with Tiny $; Democrat Kase Plays Banjo for Votes

January 22, 2020


Cecil County Council member Bill Coutz (R-2) has finally filed his campaign finance report that was due last week, with fines for his tardiness and a new treasurer and campaign chairman to replace two longtime supporters who resigned from his campaign. And while he has posted a video and told a public meeting of local volunteer firefighters that he will run for County Executive, he still has not filed necessary paperwork to do so.

And with just $279 in his campaign account, his political fortune is but a dust speck in comparison with his already declared opponents in the Republican primary election.

Coutz failed to comply with state law to report his ongoing campaign committee’s finances for the calendar year 2019, a report that was due 1/15/2020. As a result, he was fined $120; earlier in the day, the fine was listed as still unpaid, but by the close of business on Wednesday state records listed the fine as no longer having an unpaid balance. That is an important matter: candidates cannot file a certificate of candidacy for another race if they have unpaid violation balances for their campaign committees, under election laws.

In his new financial report, Coutz filed an “affidavit” under election law, meaning that he had raised and spent under $1,000 for political activities since his last required financial filing last January. In that report, Coutz stated he had just $279 in his campaign account.

His former campaign treasurer, Giulia Hodge, notified the state Board of Elections that she had resigned that post as of 12/30/2019. And his campaign chairman, Ed Ginder, also resigned. Now, Coutz lists himself as his campaign chairman and his new treasurer as Kelly Albanese Bedder, managing official of an Elkton law firm.

Coutz is walking a political tightrope, running the risk of alienating his best buddy on the County Council, Jackie Gregory (R-5), who is running for re-election as an ardent supporter of Danielle Hornberger, an inexperienced local resident running for County Executive who plays up her ties to her husband, Del. Kevin Hornberger (R-35), and her boss, US Rep. Andy Harris (R-1) in her part-time job as a Harris district aide.

If and when Coutz does indeed file as a candidate for County Executive in time for Friday’s deadline, Cecil Times will have a lot of facts, court filings and related information to relay to readers for their evaluation on his qualifications to run a multi-million-dollar business enterprise.

[UPDATE: Coutz finally did file officially with the state Board of Elections as a candidate for county executive on Thursday 1/23/2010.]



It might be an interesting campaign season if the new Democratic candidate for Cecil County Executive pulls out his banjo and plays the classic “Dueling Banjos” tune at a political event.

Jeff Kase, a programmer for a Delaware firm and an active member in local Democratic political circles, filed his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Cecil County Executive on Wednesday (1/22/2020), enlarging the crowded field of candidates seeking to lead the county in the 2020 elections.

So far, multiple Republicans have filed as candidates: incumbent County Executive Alan McCarthy; Danielle Hornberger, a part-time district aide to US Rep. Andy Harris (R-1) and the wife of state Delegate Kevin Hornberger (R-35); and Ewing McDowell, a Rising Sun agribusinessman and state political appointee in the Hogan administration. [UPDATE: On Thursday 1/23/2020, County Council member Bill Coutz (R-2) filed for the GOP primary nomination.]

Cecil County Democrats have struggled to field candidates in local contests in recent years as voter registration numbers have favored Republican-affiliated candidates. And the local party often seemed more interested in engaging in statewide and national Democratic politics than in recruiting and supporting candidates from the party to seek local office.

The one contest in which local Democrats have consistently fielded candidates, however, has been the County Executive race. Four years ago, Wayne Tome—a former Cecil County Commissioner, mayor of Port Deposit, county Firemen’s Association leader, and longtime emergency medical services chief of the Water Witch volunteer fire company—ran as a Democrat against McCarthy. Tome waged a positive, issue-oriented, but decidedly losing, campaign to the Republican McCarthy.

And in the first election for a county executive after the switch from Commissioner government to a more powerful Charter system of government, former independently-elected county Treasurer Pam Howard, a Democrat, ran a spirited campaign against Tari Moore, a Republican who won that race but decided not to seek re-election after her four-year term.

Kase is an elected member of the Cecil County Democratic Central Committee, as well as a banjo player and a dedicated Bassett Hound dog-parent, competing in canine agility events.

[UPDATE: He told Cecil Times he has been a member of the party committee for two years and is currently working to develop his campaign platform, which he said he will share with voters as the campaign moves ahead. Kase,55, holds an associates degree in electrical engineering from Delaware Tech. He lives in the Childs area of Cecil County and has been a county resident for 13 years. He also is a marathon runner and holds several medals from senior division competitions.]

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