Bill Martin re-elected mayor in Havre de Grace

Incumbent Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin easily won re-election to a second term on Tuesday.

Unofficial results from the polling place at St. Patrick Hall gave Martin 1,523 votes to 874 for Wayne Dougherty, a former four-term mayor.

"The citizens came out to send a message that they believe in the progress of this city and the bright future that lies ahead of us, and I'll take their mandate and I promise I'll carry out their vision," Martin said as he gathered with family and his supporters outside the church hall.

In voting for three seats on the six-member City Council, incumbent Councilwoman Monica Worrell received 1,860 votes, followed by Jason Robertson with 1,692 and incumbent Councilman David Martin with 1,459 votes. Former councilman Fred Cullum finished fourth with 1,001 votes.

One council seat was open this year after 10-year Councilman Randy Craig decided not to seek re-election.

Worrell and David Martin, who is not related to the mayor, both won their second terms. Robertson, who lost his first bid for council a year ago, will join them and holdover members Stephen Gamatoria, David Glenn and Michael Hitchings, whose terms were not up this year.

City elections officials said 2,416 votes had been cast as of Tuesday, along with 68 absentee ballots requested and five provisional votes.

A canvass of absentee and provisional ballots is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 10 at City Hall.

The unofficial tally means 23.59 percent of the city's 10,241 eligible voters cast a ballot Tuesday. More than 21 percent of eligible voters, or 2,044 out of 9,562 voters, cast a ballot in the mayoral and council race two years ago, according to data on the Harford County Board of Elections website.

The voter turnout was 16.88 percent, with 1,571 ballots cast, in 2016, when the seats held by Gamatoria, Glenn and Hitchings were up for election — all three incumbents were re-elected.

The mayor's race between Martin and Dougherty, whom Martin succeeded as mayor in 2015, was thought to be close in the final weeks of the campaign.

But Martin campaigned aggressively and defended many changes he has initiated in his two years leading the city, some of which, such as a restructuring of the city's annual Independence Day celebration, had rankled some long-time city residents.

Martin said he was "very humbled by this historic turnout."

"It's been a long and hard campaign, and I was ready for this election to be over," he said.

Worrell said she had "no words" after the results were announced.

"I am just thrilled with the voter turnout," she said. "People care and that matters, and now it's a time for our city to come together and continue to move forward."

David Martin said he was "pleasantly surprised and happy that the citizens are supportive of the direction we're trying to take the city in."

"Now the work begins," Robertson said.

He added: "I'm motivated to get to work and deliver on what folks wanted."

Voter turnout had been steady throughout the day, with people showing up within 15 minutes of the 8 p.m. closing of the polls.

Scott Kukuck said he voted for Bill Martin for mayor, noting "I believe he's done a good job."

"I believe in the [past] two years he's done a lot for the city, and I would like to give him the opportunity to continue that," Kukuck said.

Paula Hoppel and her 20-year-old daughter, Maria, visited the polling place together.

"We love our town," Paula said. "We want it to get better, and so it's important to be involved."

Mother and daughter praised Worrell for her work on the council as well as in the community over the years, such as volunteering with Maria's youth summer swim team, the Aberdeen Penguins.

"I think she'll really help the city," Maria said.

Paula added: "She's really proactive and engaged in trying to make the city and the county a better place to live."

They declined to talk about their other choices for City Council or for mayor.

"I think they all do a really good job," Paula said.

Tuesday's winners will be sworn in at the May 15 City Council meeting.

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