Harford voters face choices [Editorial]

The Aegis

With early voting for the June 26 primary election underway, there are several contested races in which The Aegis believes Harford County voters are offered several clear, albeit difficult, choices, while there are other races where the distinction among candidates is less clear.

There are also a few offices for which there is no contested primary in either party, such as sheriff, register of wills, clerk of the court, legislative district 35 senate and delegates and legislative district 7, so we won’t dwell upon them at this time.

Our recommendations, or lack thereof in some instances, for the contested primaries are as follows:

County Executive: Incumbent Republican Barry Glassman has done a fine job leading county government and deserves to be renominated for a second term. His opponent, District A County Councilman Mike Perrone, said early this year he was stepping away from politics to concentrate on his career, then made a confounding last minute leap into the executive’s race. Regardless, Glassman is the clear best choice. There is no Democratic primary.

County Council President: We make no recommendation between the Republican candidates Patrick Vincenti and Shawn Kingston. We also make no recommendation in the Democratic primary between Samuel T. Gibson III and Frank “Bud” Hines.

County Council District A: Either of the two Republican candidates, Donna Blasdell or Paula Mullis, would be a worthy successor to Perrone, as would former councilman Dion Guthrie, who is in a two-way Democratic primary.

County Council District B: Incumbent Joe Woods does not have a Republican opponent, and only one Democrat is entered, so there is no primary on either side.

County Council District C: This seat is open because the incumbent, James McMahan, is running for another office. Among the four Republican candidates we recommend current Bel Air Mayor Susan Burdette, who is the only one with experience serving as an elected official and is someone who understands the unique, symbiotic relationship between her town and county government. There is no Democratic primary.

County Council District D: His integrity and tireless constituent work over the past 12 years make incumbent Chad Shrodes the clear choice in the two-way Republican primary. There is no Democratic primary.

County Council District E: This seat also is open because Vincenti, the incumbent, is running for council president. Of the two Republican candidates, we recommend former councilman and council president Robert Wagner. While we didn’t always agree with his positions and actions during his prior service, Wagner isn’t afraid to speak his mind and understands the legislative process as well as any candidate on the council ballots this year. There is no Democratic primary.

County Council District F: Incumbent Curtis Beulah is running for a second term and has two opponents. We offer no recommendation at this time. There is no Democratic primary.

State’s Attorney: Among the four Republicans seeking the nomination to succeed Republican Joseph Cassilly, who is retiring after 36 years, two candidates, Lisa Marts and David Ryden, have worked under Cassilly and two, Albert Peisinger and Stephen Trostle, have been prosecutors in Baltimore City and Cecil County, respectively. GOP voters should weigh whether their nominee should be from within or outside the office, and choose between either Marts or Peisinger. There is no Democratic primary.

Circuit Court Judge: Sitting judges Paul Ishak and Lawrence Kreis were appointed to the bench in the last 18 months by Gov. Larry Hogan and are running for 15-year terms, as required by law. They will be on both Democratic and Republican party ballots, as will Diane Adkins-Tobin, a veteran deputy state’s attorney, who has been a finalist for prior judicial vacancies. All three are qualified.

Legislative Subdistrict 34B: Incumbent Republican Del. Susan McComas is in a three-way primary with the departing councilman McMahan and Walter “Butch” Tilley, a liquor control board member. McComas has represented the greater Bel Air area in Annapolis for the past 12 years and has valued experience and legislative know-how that the other two lack. There is no Democratic primary.

Legislative Subdistrict 34A: There are four Republican and two Democratic candidates. Voters in each party can choose up to two. On the Republican side, incumbent Glen Glass has earned a third term for his strong constituent work. We make no recommendation for the other slot. On the Democratic side, incumbent Mary Ann Lisanti has arguably been Harford County’s most effective legislator the past four years and deserves a shot at a second term. We also recommend nominating Steve Johnson, whose service to the Aberdeen community will make him a worthy nominee.

State Senate District 34: Incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Cassilly does not have primary opposition. Democrats Barbara O. Kreamer and Mary-Dulany James, both former delegates, are seeking their party’s nomination. We recommend James.

House of Delegates District 7: This district, which sprawls across eastern Baltimore and western Harford counties, has three seats, one of which is open, and a Republican primary that has drawn 13 candidates. Both incumbent delegates, Rick Impallaria and Kathy Szeliga, should be renominated, both for their experience and constituent work and their understanding of the district’s needs and how to successfully negotiate sometimes competing interests in the two counties. For the third seat – being vacated by Del. Pat McDonough who is running for Baltimore County office – we recommend that Republican voters choose between Michael Geppi, a former county councilman, and David Seman, a northwestern Harford community leader. Both have the knowledge, ability and understanding of politics to become good state legislators. There is no Democratic primary.

First District Congress: Incumbent Republican Congressman Andy Harris, a Republican, is running for re-election in the First District, which includes central and northern Harford County and the Eastern Shore, and should be renominated by his party’s voters. We make no recommendation in the Democratic primary, which we note has drawn candidates from Harford County, who at least merit consideration.

Second District Congress: Incumbent Democratic Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger has one primary in his bid for another term representing southern Harford and much of the Baltimore suburban north and west areas. Ruppersberger has served his constituents well, while earning national standing for his role on defense issues vital to the district, and he should be renominated. We make no recommendations on the four Republicans who have filed in their party’s primary, none of whom is from Harford County.

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