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McGrady wins Aberdeen mayor race; two incumbents returned to council

A stunned Mike Bennett stands outside the Aberdeen Senior Center after learning of his loss to Patrick McGrady in the race for Aberdeen mayor Tuesday.
A stunned Mike Bennett stands outside the Aberdeen Senior Center after learning of his loss to Patrick McGrady in the race for Aberdeen mayor Tuesday. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

The mood outside the Aberdeen Senior Center Tuesday night seemed to be one of shock as elections director Gina Bantum announced the winner of the city's mayoral election: Patrick McGrady.

After the final counting of provisional ballots Thursday, McGrady ended up beating incumbent mayor Mike Bennett by 46 votes. McGrady, who received 602 votes to Bennett's 556, lost to Bennett in 2011 by 26 votes.

The other two mayoral candidates, Ruth Elliott and Marla Posey-Moss, received 238 votes and 392 votes, respectively.

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The team of Melvin Taylor, meanwhile, was elated to learn the longtime pastor had won one of four city council seats.

Taylor, who had a wide smile on his face, said the results show "the system works."

"They say if you work hard, do the work, that you will be successful," he said. "I am just glad we had the turnout. I am happy about it. I'm thankful; I'm blessed."

Tim Lindecamp also won a council seat, as did incumbent Sandra Landbeck.

Who the fourth council seat will go to remains up in the air.

After counting the 21 provisional ballots Thursday morning, incumbent Stephen Smith and Sean DeBonis were tied with 655 votes apiece. Following Tuesday's balloting, Smith had led by one vote.

Deputy Harford County Elections Director Dale Livingston said the city must now decide how to fill the seat.

Aberdeen's elections director, Gina Bantum, said there is nothing in the city charter to address such a circumstance, so they will ask the city attorney how to proceed.

The official results from Tuesday's election are:

For mayor

Patrick McGrady...................602

Mike Bennett......................... 556

Marla Posey-Moss................ 392

Ruth Elliott............................ 238

For four council seats

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Melvin Taylor......................... 899

Sandy Landbeck.................... 802

Tim Lindecamp...................... 783

Stephen Smith....................... 655

Sean DeBonis........................ 655

Dan Forte.............................. 620

Barbara Osborn Kreamer........ 555

Jason Kolligs......................... 519

Carol Bruce............................ 485

Of the 9,716 registered to vote in Aberdeen, 1,795 cast a ballot, for a turnout of 18 percent.

Landbeck, a Bennett supporter, was not too thrilled about the results.

"For me, it's a hollow victory," she said. "I am sure there will be a whole lot of nasty [council] sessions, but it could work."

McGrady, however, said he is eager to work with the council and noted he only ran because he is serious about making the city better.

"The fact that we won just demonstrates that people are tired of the crap coming from City Hall," McGrady said. He was not at the Senior Center when unofficial results were announced Tuesday night.

While the voters rejected Bennett's bid for another term, they backed his ticket for council: Landbeck, Taylor, Lindecamp and Smith, with the latter's fate still to be decided from the tie with DeBonis.

"I am going to come into this with an open mind," McGrady said about the newly elected council. "I don't like politics. I am doing this because I am ready to get to work."

"I anticipate that the council will be ready to work together to solve the problems the city has and I look forward to working with them," he added. McGrady had backed DeBonis, Forte and Kolligs for council seats.

Bennett, who has been mayor since 2007, appeared disappointed, but resigned to the result.

"The people spoke. So I have to honor the people speaking," he said, noting Aberdeen was on the verge of bankruptcy when he came in. "A lot of great things happened in the city in the last eight years."

"I think we worked hard. We did just about everything we wanted to do," Bennett said. "It is what it is."

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