Incumbents fared relatively well in municipal elections held Tuesday in Hampstead and Union Bridge. It will take more time to determine whether the mayor of New Windsor will continue to serve.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. and remained open until 8 p.m. for voters in Hampstead and Union Bridge to select three Town Council members while New Windsor residents were choosing not only a pair of councilmembers but voting in a mayoral race as well.
In Hampstead, Diane Barrett received the most votes with 206. She’ll be joined on the Town Council by incumbent Wayne Thomas, who had 202 votes, and newcomer Benjamin Zolman with 142. Zachary Tomlin finished with 96 votes. There was also one write-in vote.
In Union Bridge, incumbent Laura Conaway received the most votes with 80. Incumbent Amy Kalin, with 66, and newcomer Cheri Thompson, with 62, earned the other two council seats, edging incumbent Lou Ellen Cutsail (50 votes) and Charlene Johns (31). There was also one write-in vote.
Shortly before lunchtime in New Windsor, voters were greeted by Mayor Neal Roop and challenger Andrew Green, who stood with their wives on opposite sides of the town’s main intersection.
Voting results for New Windsor aren’t expected to be official until Wednesday or perhaps even Thursday, so the candidates have some time to wait.
Roop said he thinks he has a lot of support in seeking a fourth term as mayor.
“Whether or not it’s enough, we’ll find out later,” Roop said. “My wife [Sena] has told me ... I’ve done everything right for the past 12 years, so if some people don’t recognize that there’s not a whole lot I can do. I think if I do lose that you’ll see real quick how much I did do that they didn’t know about.”
Roop said he heard from voting officials that about 100 people came through during the morning hours Tuesday. Meanwhile. Green said he feels optimistic about his chances because New Windsor is ready for a change.
“I think the town is really going to come out in high numbers, and I think we’re going to get something done” he said as wife Angela held a campaign sign and waved to passersby. “The people have been waiting for this for quite some time.”
Green said one of the town’s biggest issues is sewer and water bills that he has called “astronomical.” Roop said Green’s plan to lower those rates mirrors what New Windsor has been trying to do during his run as mayor.
“That’s the No. 1 issue, but it’s not like I don’t listen,” Roop said. “I’ve gotten four grants total, so almost 4 million dollars, to offset our loan debt. I don’t think anybody else could have done any better.”
Three newcomers — Kevin Cornick, Austin Fogarty and William Holl — were on the ballot seeking New Windsor’s two Town Council spots as both current councilmembers whose seats were up for election opted not to run again.
A few miles northwest along Md. 75, Union Bridge voting officials Judy Baxter and Sam Myers sat inside Town Hall with election judge Sean Daley, who later said 105 ballots were cast, which was in line with recent town elections.
The lunch rush wasn’t big by any means, but a voter here and there came in to decide which of the five candidates running for town council were best suited to fill the three open positions. Daley said and the officials said they weren’t waiting too long between people entering the building to vote this time around.
“I haven’t been bored out of my mind, I’ll put it that way,” Baxter said.
“It’s always pretty consistent,” said Daley, who is in his third election cycle. “We’ll get a handful first thing in the morning, and then we’ll get the lunchtime group. But the majority will be later this afternoon, after work. But like [Baxter] said, it’s been fairly consistent. I don’t think we ever sit more than maybe 30 minutes before somebody comes in.”
In Hampstead, which also had three Town Council seats at stake, all the candidates’ tents and chairs were set up next to each other. Thomas, the incumbent, was holding his campaign sign with one hand and the top of his tent with the other as the wind blew. He said around noon there were about 70 people who had already voted. And there’s usually a bigger turnout when there’s controversy.
Thomas, who’s been a councilmember for 28 years, said he hoped to get another four years. He said he would probably not run again if he lost, and if he were to win, he could break a record of longest council run in Hampstead.
Barrett said they had a pretty steady turnout and hoping it’s better “than the 5% that Taneytown experienced.”
Tomlin said Hampstead’s election “is exactly how an election should be” with no animosity and everyone getting along. He added whether win or lose he’d continue to help with the town.
Tomlin, who was wearing a shirt that read “WWRD what would Reagan do,” ran for mayor two years ago and it was not the race he wanted it to be.
“It got negative and that’s not me,” he said, adding later he was influenced by people he should not have been and received bad advice.
By about 12:30 p.m. 80 people had voted at Hampstead’s Town Hall out of more than 4,000 registered voters. Two of those voters were Jim and Mary Maness. They did not share who they voted for but said it’s important to participate.
“It’s our civic duty,” Jim said. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”