Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

Candidates for Carroll County commissioner District 1 include five Republicans

Editor’s note: The Carroll County Times is publishing a series of stories leading up to the July 19 primary election about candidates in the Board of Carroll County Commissioners race. There are five commissioners on the board, each of whom represents a home district. Commissioners are responsible for legislative and executive county functions; they set the county tax rate and determine its annual budget allocations.

All five candidates running for the District 1 seat on the Carroll Board of County Commissioners are Republicans.


Commissioner Stephen Wantz of Westminster currently represents District 1, which stretches across the northern part of the county and includes the towns of Taneytown and New Windsor. Wantz, a Republican, was first elected as commissioner in 2014 and will finish his second term of office this year; he is a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates to represent District 5.

Candidates to replace Wantz include Ray Fava of New Windsor; Jesse A. Gibson of Westminster; Thomas E. Irwin, Jr., of Taneytown; Sean Shaffer of Westminster; and Joe Vigliotti of Taneytown.


Ray Fava

Fava could not be reached for comment and also did not respond to The Baltimore Sun Voter Guide.

On his website,, Fava, of New Windsor, states that he is a Christian and is married with two daughters. He earned an associate degree in accounting from Carroll Community College and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore. He works in information technology.

According to his website, Fava is running for commissioner “because we have a lack of conservative leadership in Carroll County ... so I am stepping up to fight for my community.”

He states on his site that the county has been “complicit in the tyranny imposed by Gov. Larry Hogan.”

“Carroll County should be a bastion of freedom and liberty in the state of Maryland. ... Policies, like lockdowns and mask mandates, should have been outright rejected by Carroll County,” he states.

In his most recent campaign finance report filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections, for the period ending June 7, Fava reported that he has received $3,115 in contributions and has spent $2,868.37. He has a cash balance of $1,746.11.

Contributions to his campaign include $100 from the Tri-District Republican Club of Carroll County, and several larger contributions from individual donors.


Jesse Gibson

Gibson, 33, lives in Westminster with his family, and works for Frederick County Fire and Rescue, stationed in Libertytown.

His platform is centered on support for small businesses that were financially hurt during the pandemic.

“I always support small businesses, and the growth of small businesses,” Gibson said in an interview.

Gibson said he is concerned that large home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, garnered hefty profits during the pandemic, but many small, independent stores were put out of business.

“It’s got to change,” he said.


If elected, he hopes to make a positive impact in the community he will serve.

A campaign finance report for Gibson filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections for the period ending Jan. 12, shows that he raised $100 and spent $90.08, leaving him a cash balance of $9.92.

Thomas E. Irwin, Jr.

In his response to The Baltimore Sun Voter Guide, Irwin, 56, of Taneytown, lists his occupation as a farmer and agronomist.


Irwin is chairman of the Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board for Carroll County and served as a committee member on the 75,000 Acres Preserved & Growing committee for the Carroll Board of County Commissioners.

“I offer a very unique perspective for the voters of Carroll County,” he stated in the voter guide. “There is no substitute for life experience in shaping decisions. I have worked over 30 years in the agribusiness industry in Carroll County. I want my representative to be responsible for the tax dollars I pay. I see a need for someone, like me, to be on the Board of Commissioners. That’s why I’m running.”

Irwin’s campaign finance report filed with the state board of elections for the period ending June 7, shows contributions of $2,700; expenditures of $1,234.90; and a cash balance of $1465.10.

Sean Shaffer

Shaffer, 41, of Westminster stated in his response to The Baltimore Sun Voter Guide that he is unemployed due to the pandemic.

Shaffer filed an Affidavit of Limited Contributions and Expenditures on June 8 with the state board of elections declaring that he does not intend to receive contributions or make expenditures of $1,000 or more.


Shaffer earned an associate degree in electronics engineering and electronic systems, and according to his campaign website,, he is a graduate of York Technical Institute.

“I have lived in Carroll County for 40 years and have seen a lack when bringing the county into the 21st century,” Shaffer stated in the Sun’s voter guide. “Schools, business and government lacks leadership or ability to address issues in face of changing technology or using technology to address issues.


“Carroll County lacks infrastructure for technology advancements and the proper knowledge to use such technology. As a rural area we are not given interest by corporations for employment or redress issues by government policies.”

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Joe Vigliotti

Vigliotti, 36, of Taneytown, is a three-term member of the Taneytown City Council. He currently serves as both mayor pro tem and council liaison to the Taneytown Police Department.

Vigliotti stated in an email interview that he is running for commissioner to be a voice for the parents and students in Carroll County, “opposing any policies which might negatively affect them.”

“With respect to parental rights, there were a lot of policies (such as sustained, forced masking of children) which adversely affected those children, and their parents,” he said. “Children are their parents’ world. Parents have both the natural right and responsibility to oversee their children’s safety, wellbeing and upbringing.”

Vigliotti stated his support for “education which is not marred or altered by political ideology or motive.”


“There is a prevailing view among many that education should have an ulterior component — for example, that math is not merely math, but part of a power construct which institutionalizes discrimination, or that parents should have no say in what their children learn or experience in the classroom,” he wrote in the email. “I hold to the well-established position that a student should actually learn math in a math class, and that parents are right in wanting this to be the case.”

Vigliotti’s most recent campaign finance reports shows that he has a cash balance of $1,151.92, though he has taken no contributions. His expenditures are $1,949.91, for mailing, printing, materials and other expenses.