Voters in Laurel say they crossed party lines

Voting was sparse at Laurel High, a trend throughout the state on election day.
Voting was sparse at Laurel High, a trend throughout the state on election day. (Photo by Ulysses Muñoz)

Laurel voters had few contested local races in Tuesday's general election, but joined voters across the state in deciding the next governor.

The 2014 midterms didn't draw the same volume of voters as a presidential election, but residents showed up to polling stations in a steady, but slow, stream throughout the day.


By 10 a.m., around 200 residents had cast their votes at the Hope Baptist Church in North Laurel, according to David Hill, the site's Republican chief judge.

"I don't think we've had any period without at least one voter in the place," said Hill. He added that this was a typical voter turnout for a midterm election and that many of the races seemed "too close to call."


The race between gubernatorial candidates Anthony Brown, a Democrat, and Republican Larry Hogan, who won, drew the most attention from voters

Political advertisements might have played a significant role in voters' decisions, but not necessarily in the way that candidates might have hoped.

Frank Boone, a Republican from Laurel, said that he's been a Republican for 30 years, but still voted for Anthony Brown.

"The trend of our party is pretty much a joke," said Boone. "Put forward candidates that stand for something instead of just being against everything."


Phill Wilder voted Republican in the gubernatorial race, but not all the way across the board. He said that "the viciousness of the Brown campaign was terrible," and it made his vote for Hogan an easy one.

"I went with Brown, but I don't know.…it was kind of hard, it seems like nobody 'wowed' me," said Tanika Bellis. She did her own research on the candidates in advance, but the political ads she saw made her unhappy with her options.

"Hogan, I'm hoping for Hogan," said Tom Kuntz, of Laurel. "We can't afford Anthony Brown anymore. He isn't for the people."

Democrat Jim Rosapepe maintained his position as state senator for District 21 after running unopposed. His democratic colleagues in the district, state delegates Barbara Frush, Ben Barnes and Joseline Peña-Melnyk all kept their seats as well, defeating Republican challenger Katherine Butcher, who pulled in around 15 percent of the vote.

Also holding onto his seat at the state level was incumbent state Sen. Douglas J. J. Peters in District 23, who ran unopposed. For the South Laurel District 23A, incumbent democrat Geraldine Valentino-Smith held onto her seat, defeating Independent candidate Shukoor Ahmed.

In North Laurel's District 13, Democrat Guy Guzzone defeated Republican Jody Venkatesan for James Robey's open Senate seat.

Prince George's County

In Prince George's County, both District 1 County Councilwoman Mary Lehman and County Executive Rushern Baker III won reelection in unopposed campaigns. Lehman and Baker have both held office since the 2010 midterm election.

John Dorman, who recently moved to Prince George's County from Virginia, said he voted for Anthony Brown in the gubernatorial race but it was harder to take the uncontested races seriously.

"Part of me wanted to write in 'Santa Claus' because that person [in those races] is 100 percent going to win," he said.

Yanis Quintanilla said she voted with the Democrats all the way through, but agreed that there shouldn't be candidates running unopposed.

"There should be more competition to make things more interesting," she said.

The other major decision Prince George's county voters had to make was on Question J, which would increase the number of terms from two to three for a county council member or county executive. The proposed charter amendment was narrowly defeated.

Wilder felt strongly that term limits should be strictly enforced. "I don't think anybody should make a career out of being in any office, period," he said.

Howard County

For Howard County, the county executive race between Democrat Courtney Watson and Republican Allan Kittleman had Watson clearly ahead when early voting numbers were released. But Kittleman was the winner by the end of the night.

Ada Emarievbe said that speaking as a mother of two young children, she believes that Watson has a much better grasp on what would be needed for children in the county.

"I'm very much in touch with the school system, and I feel like she is as well," she said.

Jen Terrasa, the Democratic councilwoman from District 3, which include North Laurel, also kept her seat on the council after running unopposed.

Anne Arundel

Republican Steve Schuh defeated Democrat George Johnson for Anne Arundel County executive, and in council District 4, which includes Maryland City and Russett, Democrat Andrew Pruski defeated Republican opponent Chike Anyanwu,

Despite the high turnout Tuesday, there were some voters like Clayton Duhaney that left the polling stations feeling disillusioned with all of the available options.

"The Republican party needs to do a better job about reaching out to the African American community," said Duhaney, who is black. "It's unfortunate that no matter who is in office, the black community still has the highest rate of unemployment, the highest rate of crimes and schools that just aren't very good."

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