Harford County election 2014

Election signs have been popping up in Harford County faster than the candidates themselves. With the filing deadline coming up Tuesday, most local races have but a few candidates. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, The Aegis / February 20, 2014)

The filing deadline is just days away, and while a number of candidates have filed for Harford County executive and county council, a few slots remain open in both the Democratic and Republican party primary races.

Candidates for county and state offices have until 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, to file.

There will be a contest for county executive, at least in the general election, but as of Thursday it remained to be seen if either candidate who has filed will have a primary opponent.

Republican State Sen. Barry Glassman, of Darlington, was first to announce and to file for the county's top elected post, way back in August, and has been considered a contender for county executive for several years. In addition to serving in the State Senate since 2009, Glassman has served in the House of Delegates and was a county councilman for eight years prior to moving on to Annapolis.

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A political newcomer from Bel Air, Joseph Werner, is also running for county executive; he filed his candidacy last week.

Werner, a Democrat, was quick to dismiss the Republican Glassman, saying "he is not really someone who keeps in touch with the county."

"The [Harford] delegation [to Annapolis] has an extremely low approval rating," he said. "He's got experience but he is not very popular."

Werner, who works as an estate attorney in Washington, D.C., after growing up in Harford, ran for Congress once in 2008 but has never held political office, he said.

Barring additional candidates entering the race before this Tuesday's filing deadline, Glassman and Werner will have a clear path through the June 24 primary election and on to the Nov. 4 general election in their bids to succeed incumbent Harford County Executive David Craig.

Craig, who is ineligible to run again because of county charter term limits, is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

While incumbent Billy Boniface is stepping down as council president after his term expires in December, incumbent council members Joe Woods, Dion Guthrie, Chad Shrodes and Jim McMahan have all filed to run for their seats.

Two other council incumbents, Dick Slutzky and Mary Ann Lisanti, are running for other offices.

Council President

Slutzky, an Aberdeen resident and a council member since 2002, is running for council president, one in a field that gets more crowded by the day. In addition to Slutzky, other Republicans seeking the council presidency are Todd Paterniti, of Abingdon, and former council president and councilman Robert Wagner, of Bel Air.

Two Democrats have also entered the race, board of education member Jim Thornton, from Bel Air, and Christopher Boardman, of Joppatowne, who has unsuccessfully run for county office in the past.

The 56-year-old Wagner served as a councilman from 1990 to 2002 and as council president from 2002 to 2006, when he lost his re-election bid to Boniface. He ran for county executive in 2010 but was defeated by Craig in the Republican primary.

"There has been a lack of accountability and oversight by our council and there is a need to make our local government more responsible," Wagner, a Republican, wrote in an e-mail about his decision to run.

"I look forward to the challenges ahead and embrace the opportunity to serve the people of Harford County over the next four years," he wrote.

Council districts

Though redistricting since the 2010 election has made some subtle changes in the boundaries of the six council districts, none of the incumbents was placed into a district with another incumbent.