After a tight mayor election, the incumbent who won his seat back Monday night, said the reason it was so close is because he did not knock on doors.
Mayor Patrick Rockinberg beat challenger Larry Hushour, the Town Council president, by only two votes during the Mount Airy election Monday. “I think that brings home the point that every vote counts,” Bruce Walz, chairperson of the board of supervisors of elections, said when he announced the votes Monday night.
Stephen Domotor and Lynne Galletti won the two open seats on the council after receiving more votes than fellow candidate Heather Hobbs.
On Tuesday, those elected reacted to the results and shared their plans for the future.
“One of the reasons the race was so close is because my competitor did a door-knocking campaign,” he said. “I decided against that. I prefer the safety for my community than my reelection.”
He said if had gone door to door, the numbers would not have been close.
Rockinberg, who has been mayor since 2010, said his priority when he starts his new term will be to continue being careful with the pandemic and keeping some of the pandemic-inspired initiatives they had, like outdoor seating, new drive-thru’s and playing music on Main Street.
Hushour had not responded to a request for comment by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Domotor said he was surprised, humbled and gratified residents voted for him.
“I am very happy,” he said. “I think I ran a good campaign. I worked hard. I listened to residents door to door.”
He said he ran on a platform of taking actions and delivering results. Therefore, his priority when his term starts is the safety of the residents and the priorities they identified in a 2020 survey he helped send out as a member of the town’s growth and development task force. Some examples include concerns about the traffic safety on Main Street and working to revitalize the downtown area.
Domotor said he looks forward to working with those who were recently elected and those who are already serving. He said he was surprised how close the mayoral race was and it goes to show that every vote does count.
Galletti said she is still in disbelief and was “dumbstruck” when she saw the election results. Noticing the tornado warning Monday night while waiting for the final tally also caused a bit of panic since she had three kids at home.
She said while the newly elected won’t be sworn in until May 17, she already started to ask questions and do research. She’s also enrolled in the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and hopes to meet with the staff to learn more about them.
“I think there’s so much we have to learn as new members,” she said.
Galletti said she will be the person who asks thorough questions and provides answers for the taxpayers. One of the first topics the chair of the streets and roads commission is interested in is looking at accessibility for walking and bike riding.
She said she did a lot of groundwork during her campaign and used the experience she had while working on other campaigns. She refused to engage with others on social media and say anything bad about another candidate. And like Rockinberg, she also refused to knock on doors during the pandemic.
Galletti said she was less surprised by the closeness of the election — Rockinberg had 804 votes to Hushour’s 802 — and more so about the turnout. She said 22% of the registered voters showed up, which is an improvement from the past and something she called “amazing.”
“I thought that says a lot about our citizens,” she said. “Don’t ever think your vote doesn’t count. You do count.”
Domotor received 969 votes, Galletti had 956 votes and Hobbs had 787. There were 1,621 ballots cast.