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Elections

Bennett win among gains Democrats are making in conservative Harford County, professor says

Democrat Jacob Bennett has won the Harford County Council District F seat over Republican incumbent council member Curtis Beulah.

Bennett received 47.6% of the votes in the race to Beulah’s 47%, separated by just 92 votes. While Beulah initially led Bennett after Election Day, Bennett passed him after receiving 65.3% of the mail-in ballot votes and 61.3% of the provisional ballot votes.

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“To come [out] on the other end victorious is a huge honor,” Bennett, a 27-year-old teacher, said. “It’s a testament to the dozens of community members who supported us, who knocked on doors with us, who wrote postcards with us, and who told their neighbors about us.”

Beulah was not available for comment.

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The Harford County Board of Elections certified county election results after its final day of ballot canvassing Friday, elections director Stephanie Taylor said.

With county results in and Bennett having overturned Beulah’s seat, the council will have two Democrats and five Republicans, as opposed to the previous council’s 6-1 Republican majority.

Stephanie Hallock, a political science professor at Harford Community College, said that although Harford County is one of the state’s more conservative counties, she’s recently noticed thinner margins between Republicans and Democrats during election season.

“The Democrats are making some grounds against a conservative stronghold,” Hallock said.

The County Council will have two returning members — council president Patrick Vincenti and District C council member Tony Giangiordano, both Republicans.

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Vincenti won his race over Democrat Wini Roche, with 60.7% of the vote. Giangiordano received 64% of the District C vote over Democrat Evan Schaule.

“It is a privilege to serve, and I am eager to continue working,” Giangiordano told The Aegis via email.

Former council member Dion Guthrie will return to the council as its second Democrat of the term, winning District A with 57% of the vote over Republican David Woods.

Current District A council member Andre Johnson, a Democrat, ran successfully for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates from District 34A.

Republican Aaron Penman ran unopposed in the general election for the District B council seat.

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Former clerk of the circuit court James Reilly, a Republican, won District D with 75.6% of the vote over Democrat Jean Salvatore. Republican Jessica Boyle-Tsottles, who beat council vice president Robert Wagner in the primary election, won District E with 57.2% of the vote over Democrat Rachel Gauthier.

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“This is my first time getting into politics — I’m not a lifelong politician,” Boyle-Tsottles said. “I’m a business owner. I think I’ll be a really huge asset for the council.”

The remaining county races went to Republicans. Republican state Sen. Bob Cassilly will be the next Harford County executive, defeating Democrat Blane Miller III after receiving 64.1% of the vote.

Alison Healey and Jeff Gahler did not have Democratic opponents for state’s attorney and sheriff.

Michelle Karczeski won the clerk of the circuit court race with 63.2% of the vote over Democrat Barbara Osborn Kreamer.

Republican incumbent register of wills Derek Hopkins held onto his seat with 64.5% of the vote against Democrat Jo Wanda Strickland Lucas.

Monday was the final day for candidates to request a recount of the votes. Taylor said the margin for a free recount would be two candidates who were within 0.25% of one another, but otherwise, a recount would need to be paid by the candidate who makes the request. None of the county races were that close.


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