The start of 2018 is still a few months away, but a number of candidates have already filed to run for Harford County and state legislative offices in next year's primary election.
If those candidates stick to running for those offices, changes in the local political landscape could be forthcoming. Already, one Harford County Council member has opted to run for the legislature and another is expected not to run for re-election.
Next year's election will affect every key elected office in Harford County, including county executive, County Council, state's attorney, sheriff, board of education, clerk of courts and register of wills. Voters in Harford and across the state also will cast ballots for governor and their representatives in the U.S. Congress.
Election Day in the Democratic and Republican primary races is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, 2018, and early voting runs from June 14-21, according to the Harford County Board of Elections website.
"Your County Council and your executive, and your delegates and senators here in Maryland, affect your daily life," Harford Elections Director Kevin Keene said Monday.
Candidate filing started Feb. 28 and continues through 9 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2018, according to Keene. The deadline for candidates to withdraw is 4:30 p.m. on March 1, 2018.
No one had filed for Harford County executive as of late Monday afternoon, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections website. Incumbent County Executive Barry Glassman is scheduled to make an announcement about his plans Oct. 17 at the Level Fire Hall, where he declared his candidacy in the past.
Glassman, a Republican, is eligible to run for a second four-year term and has given no indication he won't despite some speculation in political circles that he might challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican whose District 1 includes central and northern Harford.
If Glassman stands pat as expected, however, he'll be in a strong position to secure a second term.
No one had filed for County Council president, either. Incumbent President Richard Slutzky, a veteran council member who was elected to his first term as president in 2014, said "it's up in the air at this time" whether he will seek re-election.
He said Monday he is not looking at another elected office.
"It's just a matter of what I think is appropriate and best for me and best for the county, but I'm still evaluating those conditions," he said.
Candidates have filed for three of the six councilmanic district seats — the president runs countywide.
Donna Blasdell, of Edgewood, and Paula Mullis, of Joppatowne, both Republicans, have filed for the District A seat held by Councilman Mike Perrone.
Blasdell is Perrone's legislative aide, and she said she decided to step up and run for council since Perrone is not seeking re-election.
"I'm aware of the concerns in Joppa and Abingdon, and I've been a resident of Edgewood for over 15 years," she said Tuesday.
Susan Burdette, the current mayor of Bel Air, is running for District C, along with Patti Parker, also of Bel Air. Both are Republicans.
Councilman Jim McMahan, the Republican District C incumbent, has filed to run for state delegate in District 34B.
Chad Shrodes, the incumbent District D councilman, has filed for re-election. He is a Republican.
Incumbent State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly, who has been Harford County's top prosecutor for nearly 35 years, said in an email Monday that he will not seek re-election.
Cassilly announced last fall that he planned to retire as of Jan. 1, part of the way through his ninth term, but he later reversed that decision and said he would complete the term.
Three candidates had filed as of Monday — the Republicans include Albert Peisinger, a Baltimore City prosecutor, and David Ryden, a senior assistant state's attorney in Harford County. The Democratic candidate is Carlos R. Taylor, an Abingdon defense attorney.
James Reilly, the incumbent clerk of the Circuit Court, and Derek Hopkins, the register of wills, are Republicans and have filed for re-election.
No one has filed for the six elected seats on the nine-member Harford County Board of Education; three members are appointed by the governor.
Incumbent Republican state Sen. Wayne Norman is the only one who has filed for the state legislature. Norman represents District 35, one of three senatorial districts in Harford County.
Three Republican challengers have filed for House of Delegates in District 7, which covers eastern Baltimore County and western Harford. They are Norm Gifford, of Chase, Trevor Leach, of Joppa, and Angela Sudano-Marcellino, of White Hall.
Incumbent Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, a Democrat, has filed for re-election in District 34A. Incumbent Del. Susan McComas, a Republican, has filed for re-election in District 34B, and she faces challengers Jan Marie Christensen and Jim McMahan, both of Bel Air.
Incumbent Republican Del. Kevin Hornberger, of North East, has filed for re-election in District 35A, which covers sections of Cecil and Harford counties. Incumbent Republican Dels. Andrew Cassilly and Teresa Reilly, of Level and Whiteford, respectively, have filed for re-election in District 35B.
Keene, the Harford election director, stressed voters must be affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties to cast ballots in the majority of the June primary races.
Harford County, with a population of about 250,000, had 186,894 registered voters as of Sept. 1. There are 67,078 Democrats and 80,273 Republicans, according to the report on the Harford County Board of Elections website.
There are also 36,538 voters registered as unaffiliated, 1,407 Libertarians, 1,175 "others" and 423 registered Greens, according to the report.
Voters not affiliated with a major party could cast ballots in nonpartisan races such as the school board during the primary.
The top two vote-getters in the primary in each school board district will face each other in the general election, Dale Livingston, deputy director of the county board of elections, said.
The county board of elections will host a National Voter Registration open house from 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at its headquarters at 133 Industry Lane in Forest Hill.
Visitors can learn about the multiple services offered by the board of elections, becoming an election judge and check out a mock polling station.
Elections officials will also be able to "hammer in the importance of voting and how simple the process is," Keene said.