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Harford voters to choose new county executive, council members, school board

A full house of voters casts their ballots during the first day of early voting in Bel Air. General Election Day is Tuesday, with every major Harford County and state office on the ballot.
A full house of voters casts their ballots during the first day of early voting in Bel Air. General Election Day is Tuesday, with every major Harford County and state office on the ballot.(MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

In Tuesday's general election, Harford County voters will pick a new county executive, a county council president and a county council that will have at least two new faces, as well as six school board members.

County voters will also have their say in the races for governor and other top state offices – attorney general and comptroller, three state senators, eight state delegates, a sheriff, clerk of the court, register of wills, state's attorney, circuit court judge and two congressmen.

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Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4. Harford has 86 voting precincts spread over 65 locations. For information about where to vote and other election information, visit http://www.harfordvotes.info.

With few exceptions, Harford has been reliably Republican over the past two decades, and GOP governor candidate Larry Hogan, a Prince George's County businessman and party activist, is expected to get a big vote locally over Democrat Anthony Brown, who has been lieutenant governor the past eight years. Hogan campaigned in Bel Air and Havre de Grace Thursday.

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The Republican edge also bodes well for incumbent First District Congressman Andy Harris, who lists his address as Bel Air on election documents and is seeking a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Harris, whose district includes northern and central Harford, Cecil County and the rest of the Eastern Shore counties, and parts of Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick counties, is opposed by Democrat Bill Tilghman, of Centreville.

Incumbent Second District Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat, is seeking a seventh term. Ruppersberger, whose district includes the heavily Democratic Route 40 corridor in Harford, as well as parts of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties and Baltimore City, is opposed by Republican David Banach and two minor candidates.

Harris and Ruppersberger are expected to easily win re-election.

In what many local pundits consider the county's marquee local race, Sheriff Jesse Bane, a Democrat, is seeking his third term as the county's top law enforcement officer, opposed by Republican and retired state trooper, Jeff Gahler, who finished close behind Bane in 2010.

Early voting wrapped up Thursday evening at the four designated polling sites in Harford County, as it did throughout the state.

Almost 11 percent of Harford's nearly 164,800 active registered voters cast their ballots during the eight days of early voting that began Oct. 23 and ended at 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.

The four early voting sites in Harford drew 17,965 earlier voters, with by far the heaviest turnout on Thursday, when 3,863 people voted.

Harford Deputy Elections Director Dale Livingston said flow of early voting was "steady" throughout the period. She also noted the weather was mostly cooperative.

Key county races

In the county executive's race, Republican Barry Glassman, a state senator and former county council member, has been campaigning hard in an effort to succeed David Craig, who is leaving office after nearly nine and a half years.

Democrat Joseph Werner, an attorney in Washington, D.C. and a Bel Air resident, is trying to overcome Glassman's well-financed campaign, which has been more than two years in the making.

Also being decided is a new Harford County Council president to replace Billy Boniface, who is stepping down after eight years and presided over his final council meeting last week. The choices are Republican Dick Slutzky, a 12-year council member from Aberdeen, and Democrat Jim Thornton, a member of the Harford County Board of Education, who is from Bel Air.

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Two council members, Joe Woods in District B, representing Fallston, Abingdon and Joppa, and Chad Shrodes in District D, representing northern Harford, are unopposed..

The other four county council district races include two involving vacated seats.

In District E, covering Fountain Green, Churchville and Aberdeen, Democrat Barbara Osborn Kreamer, a former councilwoman and state delegate, and Republican Patrick Vincenti, a business owner and first-time candidate, are vying for the seat left open by Slutzky's bid for the council presidency.

In District F, covering Havre de Grace, Riverside and Abingdon, former Havre de Grace city councilman Joseph Smith, a Democrat, and Republican Curtis Beulah, of Abingdon, are in a race to succeed Mary Ann Lisanti, who is running for delegate. Both candidates are small business owners.

In District A, covering the Joppa and Edgewood areas, incumbent Democrat Dion Guthrie is being challenged by Republican Mike Perrone Jr. Guthrie, a retired union representative, is seeking a fourth term, while Perrone, who is working to become a CPA and is a community volunteer, is making his first bid for public office.

Gina Kazimir, a Democrat who has worked in public relations and communications, is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Jim McMahan in District C, representing the Bel Air area. McMahan, a retired radio station owner, has held the seat for eight years.

School board, legislative seats

Harford voters will also select school board members, one representing each of the six county council districts. These elections are non-partisan.

Fred Mullis is competing against Jansen Robinson in District A; incumbent Bob Frisch is challenged by Laura Runyeon in District B; Joseph Voskuhl, former Bel Air High principal, is challenging incumbent Alysson Krchnavy in District C; incumbent and current board president Nancy Reynolds is challenged by Mike Simon in District D; incumbent Arthur Kaff is challenged by Rachel Gauthier in District E; and Thomas Fitzpatrick, another incumbent, is challenged by Michael Hitchings in District F.

A number of Harford's state legislative races are for open seats, including two of the county's three state senate races.

In District 34, covering southern Harford along the Route 40 area and the Route 24 corridor into Bel Air, Democrat Mary-Dulany James, a four-term state delegate from Havre de Grace, and Republican Bob Cassilly, a former county councilman from Bel Air, are vying for the senate seat being vacated after 16 years by Republican Nancy Jacobs, who is retiring.

In District 35, covering northeastern Harford and northern and western Cecil, Republican H. Wayne Norman, a six-year state delegate and Bel Air area resident, and Democrat Bridget Kelly, a retired educator and Perryville resident, are seeking the seat being vacated by Glassman in his bid for Harford County executive.

In District 7, covering the western Harford Route 152 and 23 corridors from Joppa north to Norrisville and parts of eastern Baltimore County, two term Sen. J.B. Jennings, a Republican from Joppa, is opposed by Democrat Kim Letke, also from Joppa, a former police officer and current government contractor.

In Harford House of Delegates races, Republican incumbent Del. Glen Glass, of Aberdeen; Republican Mike Blizzard, of Havre de Grace; Democrat Marla Posey-Moss, of Aberdeen; and Democrat Mary Ann Lisanti, of Havre de Grace, are vying for two seats in Subdistrict 34A along the Route 40 corridor from Joppatowne to Havre de Grace.

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Three-term incumbent Republican Del. Susan McComas, of Bel Air, is challenged by Democrat Cassandra Beverley, a school board member from Abingdon, for the single House seat in Subdistrict 34 B, representing Bel Air and Abingdon.

In the northeastern Harford Subdistrict 35B, Republicans Andrew Cassilly, of Havre de Grace, and Teresa Reilly, of Whiteford, and Democrats Dan Lamey, of Street, and Jeffrey Elliott, of Bel Air, are vying for two seats that are open as a result of Norman's senate candidacy and the retirement of two-term Del. Donna Stifler.

All three incumbent delegates in District 7, Republicans Pat McDonough, of Middle River; Rick Impallaria, of Joppa; and Kathy Szeliga, of Perry Hall, are seeking new terms, the fourth for McDonough and Impallaria and the second for Szeliga. They are opposed by Democrats Bob Bowie Jr., of Monkton; Pete Definbaugh, of Baldwin; and Norm Gifford, of Bowleys Quarters.

Courthouse races

In other Harford races, incumbent Republican State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly, is seeking a ninth term and is opposed by Democrat Steven Trostle, a Joppa resident, who is a prosecutor in Cecil County.

Incumbent Clerk of the Circuit Court James Reilly, a Republican, is seeking a fourth term and is opposed by Democrat Robert Jay Neuman Jr.

Register of Willis Derek Hopkins, a Republican seeking a second term, and Circuit Judge Yolanda Curtin, who is seeking a full 15-year term following her appointment to the bench last year, are unopposed.

There also are two proposed state constitutional amendments and two proposed county charter amendments on the ballot.

State Question 1 places restrictions on the use of transportation trust fund money for non-transportation purposes, while State Question 2 allows charter counties to hold special elections to fill vacancies in the office of county executive, something they do not have legal authority to do.

Local Question A permits the county auditor to conduct performance and operational audits of county agencies, in addition to performance audits currently permitted. Local Question B removes county deputy department directors from the classified service and makes them at-will employees, subject to county executive appointment and county council confirmation.

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