Joppatowne resident Maryann Forgan has not held an elected office before but the 54-year-old business owner and active community volunteer is running for Harford County executive because, in her words, “nothing ever gets done.”
“There a lot of things that I've looked at and just shook my head and said to myself, ‘Can't things change?’” Forgan said Sunday.
Forgan is the only Democrat who has filed in this year’s county executive race so far. Incumbent County Executive Barry Glassman, a Republican, has also filed in his bid for a second term, and he is the only Republican candidate who has filed so far, according to a list on candidates on the Maryland State Board of Elections website.
Forgan is the owner of Maryann's Custom Painting, and she is a member of the Joppatowne Heritage and Development Corp., the Joppatowne Recreation Council, the Joppatowne Lions Club and president of the Joppatowne Arts Festival. She also volunteers with the local rotating homeless shelter, which is held in a different Harford County church each week during the winter.
She is married with one daughter and two grandsons. She grew up in Joppa and graduated from Joppatowne High School in 1981.
Forgan expressed frustration with the sense that many Joppatowne residents have said that they receive unequal treatment from the county in terms of education and youth recreation, and the ever-increasing number of opioid overdoses countywide. She said she has friends whose children have died from overdoses. In addition, friends of her sister, who lives in Howard County, have lost children to overdoses, too.
She acknowledged the county government’s efforts, as well as law enforcement and the county schools, to stem the overdose tide, but said “there’s so much more that needs to be done and needs to be talked about. Something needs to be done to help.”
“A lot of things are wrong and it's government ,and it's politics,” Forgan said. She encouraged local leaders to take a break from politics and “work together to fix things.”
She faces an uphill battle against the popular Glassman in a county that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the county executive’s office since 1994 and where it has become rare for a Democrat to gain election to any local office.
There are still about seven weeks left to file for a slew of local and state races in this year’s election. The filing deadline is 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27. The primary election will be held Tuesday, June 26, which will be preceded by a week of early voting — June 14-21.
Voters across the state will be choosing their next governor and lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, U.S. senator, members of the House of Representatives and members of the Maryland General Assembly, according to the elections board website.
Voters in Harford County will cast ballots for county executive, County Council, sheriff, state’s attorney, Board of Education, clerk of the Circuit Court, register of wills and the Democratic and Republican central committees.
County Council President Richard Slutzky will not seek a second term as the council’s leader. The Aberdeen resident has served on the council since 2002; he was elected president in 2014. He confirmed he will retire after his term ends in November.
“It has to do with spending more time with my family and the fact that at the end of this term, I will have completed 16 years [on the council],” he said Sunday.
Slutzky, 74, will turn 75 in February, and he said he would be nearly 80 by the time his second term ends, should he be re-elected.
“I don’t think that I need to be continuing to serve until I’m 80 years old,” he said.
Patrick Vincenti, a Republican County Councilman who represents the Aberdeen and Churchville areas in District E, has filed for council president. He is the only candidate for that office so far.
Four candidates have filed for the District A council seat, representing the Edgewood and Joppa areas, so far; the incumbent Republican councilman, Mike Perrone, is not seeking re-election.
There are two Republican candidates — Donna Blasdell and Paula Mullis — and two Democrats — Andre Johnson and Dion Guthrie, a former District A councilman.
No one has filed so far, for the District B seat serving greater Fallston, currently held by Republican Councilman Joe Woods.
Three Republicans, but no Democrats have filed for the District C seat representing greater Bel Air. They include Tony “G” Giangiordano, Patti Parker and Susan Burdette, a Bel Air town commissioner and mayor.
The incumbent councilman, Republican James McMahan, is running for the District 34B seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Incumbent Republican Councilman Chad Shrodes has filed for re-election for District D, representing northern Harford. He has a primary challenger in Jerry Scarborough.
Diane Sengstacke, a Republican, is the only candidate in the District E race so far. Incumbent Republican Councilman Curtis Beulah, the District F councilman serving areas such as Abingdon and Havre de Grace, has filed for re-election, the only District F candidate so far.
Republicans Lisa Marts, Albert Peisinger, David Ryden and Steven Trostle have filed for state’s attorney, along with Democrat Carlos Taylor. They are vying to replace veteran State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly, who is stepping down after more than 35 years as Harford’s top prosecutor.
Incumbents James Reilly and Derek Hopkins, both Republicans, have filed for re-election to their respective offices, clerk of the Circuit Court and register of wills.
Incumbent Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, a Republican, has filed for a second term as Harford’s top law enforcement officer. He has no challengers yet.
School board members run in councilmanic districts for six out of the nine seats on the board — the remaining three are appointed by the governor — and they are nonpartisan.
Incumbent Jansen Robinson has filed for re-election to his District A seat, and challenger David Bauer has filed for the District B seat.
Alfred Williamson, who was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan in 2015, is running for the District D seat. Incumbents Rachel Gauthier and Thomas Fitzpatrick have filed for their respective District E and F seats.
State legislative races
Republican challengers Joshua Barlow, Norm Gifford, Trevor Leach, Bill Paulshock and Angela Marcellino-Sudano, along with Democrat Allison Berkowitz, have filed for three seats in legislative District 7, covering eastern Baltimore County and western Harford.
Incumbent Republican Dels. Rick Impallaria and Kathy Szeliga have not filed yet. Republican Del. Pat McDonough has declared his candidacy for Baltimore County executive. Republican Sen. J.B. Jennings, the District 7 incumbent in the Maryland Senate, has filed for re-election.
Monica Worrell, a Havre de Grace City Council member, is running as a Republican for the District 34A seat; Democratic incumbent Del. Mary Ann Lisanti has filed for re-election.
The District 34B House race has four Republican candidates so far — incumbent Del. Susan McComas and challengers Jan Marie Christensen, James McMahan and Walter “Butch” Tilley, a member of the Harford County Liquor Control Board.
Incumbent Republican Del. Kevin Hornberger has filed for re-election in District 35A, serving western Cecil County and northern and central Harford.
Incumbent Dels. Teresa Reilly and Andrew Cassilly, both Republicans, have filed for re-election in District 35B. Reilly is the head of the Harford House delegation.
Incumbent Republican Sens. Robert Cassilly and Wayne Norman have filed for re-election to their respective District 34 and 35 seats.