Across the country, cable news pundits and talking heads are breaking down the results of the 2018 midterm general election like coaches breaking down film on a Monday. Democrats want to run the I formation (investigate and impeach) now that they have recovered the ball in the House of Representatives, while Republicans refuse to punt in the Senate, and tout President Trump’s success in retaining control of it, something Presidents Clinton and Obama were unable to do during their first midterms. I am going to leave the federal post-game analysis to the Monday morning quarterbacks of CNN and Fox News, and instead, look at the results of our hometown elections.
Ben Jealous woke up on Nov. 7 feeling mighty jealous of Larry Hogan. In a state where Democrats have a two-to-one registration advantage over Republicans, Hogan was able to defy the laws of Maryland politics and get reelected. Hogan won with an astonishing 56 percent to Jealous’ 43 percent. Compare that to the 2014 election when Hogan squeaked by with only a 4 percentage point margin of victory. The results show that independents and Democrats were able to look past the “R” behind Hogan’s name and vote for the better candidate.
Every time Gov. Hogan comes to Carroll, he reminds us that we gave him 82 percent of the vote in 2014 — the highest percentage of any of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. As it turns out, in 2018, nearly 84 percent of Carroll voters approve of the job the governor is doing. We did not receive the honor of being most valuable player of the game. That award goes to Garrett County. We did however beat our personal best by putting up numbers that would make any fantasy football owner proud. Not only did the percentage of Carroll’s vote for Hogan increase, but the total number of votes for him increased as well. The ranting of a small group of “Trump Only” Republicans who claimed they would not vote for Hogan turned out to be pre-game trash talk. Hogan’s total vote count in Carroll increased from 52,951 to 61,134, so it would appear that when it was time to convert on the third down, most Republicans in Carroll came out to move the chains for the governor.
All five Republican nominees for county commissioner won with only two of them facing opponents in the general election. Starting in December, Col. Ed Rothstein and Eric Bouchat will join commissioners Dennis Frazer, Stephen Wantz and Richard Weaver on the Board. Rothstein will take his seat as one of the most qualified individuals to have ever held the position. As the former garrison commander of Fort Meade, he was essentially the city manager for a military base that has over 55,000 people working or living there. Bouchat, a small business owner, was able to successfully fend off his District 4 Democratic opponent Paul Johnson (who ran an honorable campaign) despite the efforts of the county’s local newspaper to tarnish his reputation late in the fourth quarter.
Besides races for governor and commissioner, Republicans in Carroll won everything from Clerk of the Court to the Register of Wills, and everything in-between. Our District 5 delegation, Sen. Justin Ready, delegates Susan Krebs, April Rose, and Haven Shoemaker all scored easy reelections. The voters overwhelmingly decided to send “Team Hogan” back to Annapolis for another four years. Even Maria Oesterreicher, who won the Judge of the Circuit Court race, is a Republican despite what some confused Democrats and Carroll County Times columnists may think. Candidates for Circuit Court judge ran in both party primaries, and Oesterreicher happened to have won the Democratic primary back in June. Regardless, Oesterreicher is a registered Republican, so Democrats should hold off on claiming a “W.”
One of the most hotly contested local races in Carroll County was the six-way playoff for three spots on Carroll’s Board of Education. Education has always been important to voters, but after the Board’s decision in December 2015 to close Charles Carroll Elementary, New Windsor Middle and North Carroll High School, residents were outraged and vowed to not forget when voting for Board members in the future. There was no memory lapse for voters as they sacked all of the Board members who played a part in the 2015 school closures over the course of the last two elections. I look forward to seeing what present members, Donna Sivigny and Marsha Herbert, can achieve once they are joined by the three newly elected members.
In addition, Carroll County’s election director, Katherine Berry, deserves praise for executing flawless game plans in both the primary and general elections. During early voting, Berry was tasked with managing not one but two early voting centers — a first for Carroll in 2018. Furthermore, she took it upon herself to email out periodic voter turnout updates throughout the day during all eight days of early voting. She deserves the game ball without a doubt.
Carroll County is in great hands with the folks who were elected, and our state is in good shape with Gov. Hogan as our head coach. Now that the election is over, it is time for these newly elected officials to get on the field and remind voters why we drafted them for our team.