No matter who comes out of the primary elections for Carroll County commissioner, the next board will have a new look. Two of the five sitting commissioners will not be returning because of term limit requirements, while one commissioner seeking re-election does not have a primary or general election opponent.
For county commissioner in District 1, the Carroll County Times endorses Steve Wantz for re-election. Wantz is a great example of what you want in a county leader. He is ingrained and engaged in the community, regularly communicates with his constituents to solicit feedback on issues facing the Board of County Commissioners, and has shown a willingness to compromise to find the best possible solution moving forward, even when he may recognize that decision might not be popular. With two of the strongest personalities on the existing board exiting after serving two terms, Wantz may very well find himself as the rudder of the next board, steering the discussions and forcing the other four members to consider the positive and negatives of every decision.
District 3 is the only commissioner jurisdiction with both a Republican and Democratic primary race. All four candidates bring unique qualifications, and the three who would be new to the position would likely make fine county commissioners — as has been the incumbent who is seeking re-election, Republican Dennis Frazier. However, the Times is endorsing Frazier and Democrat Maria Warburton. Frazier gets a slight edge over his primary opponent, Tom Gordon, in our eyes because of his experience on the board and his understanding of the opioid epidemic. He has pushed for some intriguing legislation to be introduced by the delegation, and while it did not gain much traction this year, he can remain a strong voice on the Board of Commissioners on that topic. Democrat Warburton gets our endorsement in her party’s primary for her strong combination of experience working for state and municipal government offices, volunteering with numerous community organizations and in schools and firm grasp on the current issues facing Carroll County and its commissioners.
In District 4, our endorsement is for Christopher “Eric” Bouchat. Bouchat, who has run for various offices in the past, is a principled conservative, a business owner and has shown a willingness to question the status quo. The last one is a quality that, love him or hate him for it, will be missing from the Board of County Commissioners when Richard Rothschild’s term ends. But Bouchat also brings to the table, similar to Wantz, a clear willingness to engage and consider the possibility he may not always have the right answer. Bouchat has also made addressing the opioid epidemic a cornerstone of his campaign.
Republican voters in District 5 also have a difficult choice to make. Both Ed Rothstein and Frank Robert rise above as excellent candidates, however our endorsement is for Rothstein. He is a proven leader through his military experience, rising to the rank of colonel, and having served as the commander of Fort Meade the last several years of his career. In addition to developing skills in that position that will lend themselves well to tasks like balancing the budget, Rothstein has demonstrated an ability to forge strong relationships with businesses and organizations, both at Fort Meade and as part of the Governor's Workforce Development Board.
In District 2, Republican Richard Weaver is running unopposed in his party’s primary and no Democrats filed to run. In District 4, Democrat Paul Johnson is running unopposed in his party’s primary.