Polls close for District 44B state delegate race, candidates wait for results

Voters trickled out of Westowne Elementary School Tuesday evening, one of 18 polling places for the District 44B election for state delegate, before polls closed at 8 p.m.

"It's been slower than usual, with probably 16 to 17 percent turnout," said Cheryl Thurber, Democratic Chief Judge at the polling location before closing for the day. "It's been what you would expect for a primary, but a little lower than usual."


Crystal Shelley, 29, of Catonsville, a government teacher for Howard County public schools, said although she didn't know much about the candidates running in District 44B, she thought it was important to cast a vote.

"I always vote, because I think it's important," Shelley said.


She cast a vote for Pat Young, a 30-year-old military veteran from Catonsville, who works as a coordinator for the Department of Veterans Services at Towson University.

"He came to my house, so I voted for him," Shelley said.

Shelley said she also voted for Rainier Harvey, a retired police officer and member of the Baltimore County Planning Board, who was recommended by the Maryland Apple Ballot Pro-Public Education Voter Guide.

"Turnout was pretty low across the board, which was disappointing, but I think we're feeling good," said Young, one of six Democrats in the race. "We're going to have to wait and see until the polls are counted."

But, Harvey wasn't as confident.

"I'm on the edge," Harvey said, waiting for votes to be counted at an election party. "You can never be confident in these types of situations, you have to wait to find out the results."

The newly drawn district is a result of the state's 2012 redistricting and includes parts of Woodlawn and Catonsville that previously belonged to District 10.

There are six Democratic candidates vying for two open seats in the district, one that was left vacant by Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, who is running for the District 44 state Senate seat.

Democrats Aaron J. Barnett, Barry "Bishop Barry" Chapman, Harvey, Charles Sydnor, Young and Frederick Ware-Newsome are contenders in the race.  Michael J. Russell, a 23-year-old student at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the only Republican in the race, will face two of the candidates in the General Election to be held November 4.

Harvey and Sydnor, both endorsed by Nathan-Pulliam, are part of "Team Nathan-Pulliam" both received backing from Baltimore County public officials including Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk.

Waiting for votes to be counted, Sydnor said he expects the candidates who spent the most time meeting voters and knocking on doors to win.

"I'm hoping it's about the ground game," said Sydnor, a 39-year-old senior attorney at Enterprise Community Partners in Columbia. "I'm exhausted, I'm happy and I think we ran a really good campaign."


Both candidates, along with Nathan-Pulliam, worked together throughout the day to reach voters, Harvey said.

"Anytime you participate in any contest whether it be a sport or a political event, it's always better and easier to manage with a team of people," Harvey said.

Harvey said Nathan-Pulliam, whose district contains portions of Baltimore City, moved between polling locations in the city and the county.

Barnett, vice president of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 333 Port of Baltimore, is also a U.S. Navy veteran and serves as vice president of the Woodlawn Recreation Council.

Frederick Ware-Newsome, who works for Baltimore City Social Services and Barry "Bishop Barry" Chapman, an entrepreneur, are also running.

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