Carroll officials react to Trump's historic presidential victory

Carroll County Republicans rejoiced over the presidential victory of Donald Trump on Wednesday morning, hours after the New York businessman was declared the winner in a tight contest.

Between early voting and ballots cast on Election Day, more than 55,500 Carroll County residents cast their vote on behalf of Trump and running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday, accounting for about 64 percent of the county's 87,100 votes cast. Provisional and absentee votes will be tallied later this week and next.


Commissioner Stephen Wantz, who said in October that he was undecided on who would get his vote, said on Wednesday that he was glad to see Trump walk away with the victory.

"I am very pleased, and I am very excited for the direction I think this country is moving in," said Wantz, R-District 1.

County officials praised Donna Sivigny and Marsha Herbert, who won two open seats on the nonpartisan Carroll County Board of Education on Tuesday on Election Day.

"I truly think that rural America was a factor in the end result. The working people of the world are getting tired of working hard and not seeing anything in their pocket."

While Wantz would not say who he cast his own ballot for, he said he has always made his voting decision based on the individual running.

"I'm glad to be a part of being on that bandwagon," Wantz said of Trump.

Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, said he voted for Trump, but remained, on Wednesday, unhappy with the choices available.


"I just can't believe these are the candidates we had," Weaver said. "But what can you do?"

Despite his own reservations, Weaver said he understands the feeling of frustration among many Americans who carried Trump to victory.

"As a whole, people are fed up with what's happening," he said, adding that people must have confidence in the country's choice.

"Americans voiced their opinion, and now time will tell if they made the right decision or not."

On Tuesday morning, Commissioner Doug Howard, who had previously declined to say who he planned to vote for, said he posted a message on Facebook to say he would cast his vote for Trump.

"It was tough," Howard said, adding that he believed Trump was the best candidate on issues such as taxes, immigration and care for veterans. "It's very difficult because I think there were so many distractions along the way."

In the end, he said, Americans should be proud of the country's ability to transition peacefully between different leaders and parties. It's up to the voters to select quality candidates, he said.

"I hope that, in the future, this causes people to be really thoughtful during the primaries," Howard said.

Dels. Haven Shoemaker and Susan Krebs, as well as state Sen. Justin Ready, all Republicans from District 5, said they were pleased with the outcome of the election, even if Trump was not the candidate they initially favored to win the Republican nomination.

"I think we really need a change in our presidency and in policy," said Krebs, who said in October that she would vote for Trump. "We need new, fresh ideas and people who are willing to [see them through]."

Several dozen people came out on a brisk Tuesday morning to line up outside of Westminster West Middle School before the opening of the polls.

Although the election was contentious, Krebs predicted that Trump's election-night victory speech, which stressed a need to work together, helped to appease some of the tensions felt earlier in the campaign.

"I think people are feeling better today about the tone of what's happened," Krebs said.

Ready called Trump's victory "a pretty stunning repudiation of Washington, D.C., and the establishment, the media establishment, and sort of the coasts."

"It's really fascinating, what's happened," he said. "I think people really wanted a change from what we had."

He said he hoped Trump would serve as a counterweight to some of President Barack Obama's more-progressive policies.

"The best thing he can do — I think he will do — is focus on jobs [and] on border security," Ready said. "It's a big job."

Shoemaker called Trump's victory a "blow against elitism."

The factors that led to Trump's win, the anger and frustration among many Americans, have been brewing for a long time, Shoemaker said. Trump, he said, was able to harness that momentum and translate it into a win.

"I was basing my vote, I guess, more as a vote against Hillary Clinton than a vote for Trump," he said.

But some Trump supporters in Carroll County plan to hold local politicians' lack of enthusiasm for Trump in the run-up to the election against them.

"In 2018, we are going to throw out every Republican that did not support Donald Trump," said Tim Craig, chair for Trump's campaign in Carroll County.

Craig said he and others plan to challenge the county's delegation members, as well as many commissioners in primaries in coming years.

"Unfortunately, voters tend to have a short memory," Craig said. "I don't think this is the case this time around."

Several Carroll elected officials brushed off the threat of a primary challenge based on support for Trump.

"If anybody wants to go out and support people, not support people, that's their prerogative," Howard said.

Wantz said he didn't expect that kind of logic from fellow Republicans and said he found talk of plotting opposition based on support for Trump disheartening.

Krebs said she had to put her focus on state issues during the campaign.

"I think the voters in our county want to see what we've done," Krebs said. "I think [that is] divisive and I don't think Donald Trump would want that."

Gov. Larry Hogan, who reportedly wrote his father in for president on his ballot, called on Wednesday for supporters of all candidates to join together.

"Now is the time for all of us to come together to find real solutions to the problems we face as a country," Hogan said in a statement. "For the past two years, our administration has been committed to working with both Democrats and Republicans to change Maryland for the better and that is exactly what we need to see more of in Washington, D.C. As we move forward, I encourage both parties to leave behind the divisive politics that have marred this election season and our nation for far too long and focus on doing what is best for America."

Don West, chair of the county's Democratic Central Committee, said he plans to watch the coming months and years with interest.

While he said he hopes the Trump administration is successful in working on behalf of the country, he said he is also curious to see what becomes of some of Trump's campaign promises, such as building a wall along the Mexican border and deporting millions of illegal immigrants, as well as cries from some supporters to punish Hillary Clinton. If those promises don't turn into action, he said he would be interested to see how supporters react.

"It will be interesting to see how that turns out," West said.

"Maybe he'll get a free pass on these things," he added. "Maybe he'll move to the center and find some kind of common ground with the Democrats. I hope we can do that."