While down-ballot local government races often do not get the attention they deserve from voters, it is the decisions many of these elected leaders make that are going to affect some of the things that are most important to residents, such as schools, roads and public safety. The Times has endorsed the following candidates for this important role.
For Commissioner District 3, our endorsement is for Republican incumbent Dennis Frazier. Throughout his campaign, he has demonstrated a deep understanding of the issues before the Board of County Commissioners. During his four years on the board, Frazier has governed with level-headedness and has sought to make decisions with what is best for the whole county in mind, not just beholden to voters in his district. With that said, because of his previous experience on the Westminster Common Council, he is also very in-tune with the needs of District 3. Frazier has also been the strongest advocate among the county commissioners in addressing the opioid crisis.
Paul Johnson, a Democrat, has earned our endorsement for the commissioner seat in District 4. Despite his party affiliation, Johnson has demonstrated throughout the campaign and at various forums that he is a principled, independent thinker on local issues. We also think Johnson has good ideas for economic development in the county, focusing on bringing information technology jobs here. These good-paying, in-demand jobs do not require the water infrastructure Carroll lacks that other businesses demand. They also do not take up as much space as industrial and manufacturing jobsites and align with programs being offered to students by the Career and Tech Center and Carroll Community College.
For judge of the Carroll County Circuit Court, we endorse Judge Richard Titus to return to the bench. While we don’t disagree that it is long past due to have a female judge sit on the Circuit Court bench in Carroll, gender should not be the lone qualification. Over more than two decades as a practicing attorney in Carroll and since he was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016, Titus has earned a reputation as a fair but firm judge, who exhibits patience, compassion and common sense. We see no reason not to return him to the bench.
Terrie Connolly, a Democrat, is our choice for clerk of the Circuit Court. This choice is based on her more than 30 years working for the Maryland judiciary, including in the criminal, juvenile, civil, land records, courtroom and licensing departments. She is currently a senior manager of courtroom operations for the Carroll County Circuit Court. Connolly is, without question, the most qualified for this post.
For judge of the Orphan’s Court, we are endorsing Republicans Margaret “Peggy” Bair and Charles Coles Jr., and Democrat Charles Harrison for the three seats. These three are the only candidates running with previous experience serving as judge of the Orphan’s Court, the state’s probate court, which supervises the management of estates of people who have died, with or without a will, while owning property in their sole name.
Several races for local offices will be uncontested in the general election, which is a shame. Typically, we believe the more choice that voters have, the better.
However, we also recognize that the reason some of these individuals are not being challenged is because they have done a good job in their most recent terms in office, and have generally been responsive to their constituents. In a few other races, the candidate faced a significant challenger or challengers in the primary, and proved themselves to be the best of the bunch in June.
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With that in mind, we would like to re-emphasize our endorsements of the following uncontested candidates: Steven Wantz, Republican for Commissioner in District 1; Richard Weaver, Republican for Commissioner in District 2; Ed Rothstein, Republican for Commissioner in District 5; Brian DeLeonardo for State’s Attorney; Jim DeWees for Sheriff; and Paul Zimmerman for Register of Wills.