Early voting for primary begins Thursday

The Aegis

Early voting for the June 26 primary election begins Thursday June 14 and will run through June 21.

A number of important local races in Harford County have contested primary elections, most of them on the Republican Party ballot.

Republicans have dominated local elections and offices in Harford for more than two decades, and as a dominant party, their primaries tend to have more candidates and more at stake going into the Nov. 6 general election.

Harford County has 180,105 active registered voters, including 77,688 Republicans, 64,437 Democrats, 35,104 unaffiliated, 1,376 Libertarian, 382 Green and 1,118 “others,” as of June 9, according to a Harford County Board of Elections report.

The primary is only open to registered Democrats and Republicans, though, “since the Gubernatorial Primary Election is party driven, and the Republicans and Democrats are the only parties recognized in Maryland that have primaries,” Election Director Kevin Keene wrote in an email Monday.

Nonpartisan races, such as the district elections for the Harford County Board of Education, will not be on the primary ballot, according to Keene.

Those races will be part of the general election in November.

Democrats and Republicans who vote in the primary can choose their favored candidates for statewide offices such as governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller and attorney general, as well as U.S. senator and U.S. representative.

Local offices being contested include county executive; all seven County Council seats; state’s attorney,where the incumbent is retiring after 36 years; two of three state Senate seats covering the county and seven of nine state delegate seats.

There is also a three-way race for Circuit Court judge involving two sitting judges and a challenger who is an experienced county prosecutor and a past finalist for judicial appointment.

There are a handful of offices that don’t have contested primaries, including all six board of education seats and sheriff, as well as legislative seats in northern Harford District 35.

Harford County has four early voting sites:

• McFaul Activity Center, 525 W. McPhail Road in Bel Air;

• Edgewood Library, 629 Edgewood Road in Edgewood;

• Aberdeen Fire Department, 21 N. Rogers St. in Aberdeen;

• Jarrettsville Library, 3722 Norrisville Road, in Jarrettsville.

Early voting polling places are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the eight days. There is onsite parking available at all four; however, the McFaul lot is only available after 1 p.m. on weekdays — accessible parking for people with special needs is available before that time. Voters seeking general parking should go to the nearby Motor Vehicle Administration lot before 1 p.m., and shuttle vans will be available to take them to the McFaul Center, according to Keene.

The McFaul lot is open for all voters during the weekend, according to Keene.

Harford County races

Incumbent County Executive Barry Glassman is seeking a second term, and received unexpected opposition in the Republican primary from Mike Perrone, a County Councilman for the past four years. The sole Democrat running is Maryann Connaghan Forgan, a first-time candidate.

The retirement of County Council President Richard Slutzky sets up an open seat and a two-way Republican primary between current district councilman Patrick Vincenti and former county housing director Shawn Kingston. In the Democratic primary, Samuel T. Gibson III and Frank “Bud” Hines are seeking the nomination.

In addition to council president, seats in council districts A, C and E are open because incumbents are not seeking re-election. Two Republicans and two Democrats are running to succeed Perrone in District A (Joppa and Edgewood); three Republicans and one Democrat are running to succeed James V. McMahan in District C (Bel Air and Forest Hill); and two Republicans and one Democrat are running to succeed Vincenti in District E (Aberdeen and Churchville).

Incumbent Republican Councilman Joe Woods in District B (Fallston and Joppa) does not have a primary opponent and only one Democrat has filled; Incumbent Republican Chad Shrodes has a single primary opponent in District D (northern Harford) where only one Democrat has filed; Incumbent Republican Curtis Beulah has two primary opponents in District F (Havre de Grace and Abingdon) where again only a single Democrat has filed.

Four Republicans: Lisa Marts, Albert Peisinger, David Ryden and Stephen Trostle are entered in the Republican primary for the nomination to succeed retiring State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly. A single Democrat, Carlos Taylor, has filed.

Democrats filed single candidates for Circuit Court clerk, register of wills and sheriff, offices held by Republicans who are seeking re-election, James Reilly, Derek Hopkins and Jeffrey Gahler, respectively. None of the three has a GOP primary opponent.

Circuit Court Judges Paul Ishak and Lawrence Kreis are seeing full 15-year terms in primaries in which both Democrats and Republicans can vote and in which a third candidate, Diane Adkins-Tobin, currently a deputy state’s attorney, also has filed.

A judicial candidate has to place first or second in one of the two primaries to be placed on the November general election ballot where another candidate, Libertarian Party nominee, Thomas Ashwell, also will be running.

State legislative races

In District 7, covering western Harford and eastern Baltimore counties, incumbent Republican Sen. J.B. Jennings has no primary opposition; a single Democrat, Donna Hines, has filed.

For the district’s three seats in the House of Delegates, incumbent Republicans Rick Impallaria and Kathy Szeglia are seeking re-election, but the third, Republican Pat McDonough, is not running, as he is running for Baltimore County executive. That has set up a free-for-all in which 11 other Republicans have filed with the two incumbents. GOP voters can choose up to three. Democrats, meanwhile, have only fielded two candidates for the three seats.

In District 34, covering southern Harford and greater Bel Air, incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Cassilly doesn’t have a primary opponent as he seeks a second term. The Democrat primary involves two former legislators, Barbara Kreamer and Mary Dulany James, who lost to Cassilly four years ago.

There are two seats in Subdistrict 34A along the Route 40 corridor where incumbent Republican Glen Glass and incumbent Democrat Mary Ann Listanti, currently Harford County’s only Democrat officeholder, are seeking re-election. Three Republicans in addition to Glass are running, and two Democrats have joined Lisanti on their party’s ballot. Voters in each party can pick two candidates.

In Subdistrict 34B, greater Bel Air, three-term incumbent Republican Del. Susan McComas is opposed by Jen Marie Christensen; McMahan, who has served the past 12 years on the County Council; and Walter “Butch” Tilley, a county Liquor Control Board member. A single Democrat has filed.

In District 35 covering northern Harford and western Cecil counties, Republican Jason Gallion is the only major party candidate filed; a Libertarian Party candidate will, however, be on the general election ballot. Gallion filed for the seat following the March death of Sen. Wayne Norman Jr., with the blessings of the central committees in the district’s two counties. Norman’s widow, Linda, is completing the remainder of his term.

For the two Subdistrict 35B seats, covering northern Harford and the Rising Sun area of Cecil, incumbent Republican Dels. Andrew Cassilly and Theresa Reilly don’t have primary opponents. A single Democrat filed for the two seats.

In Subdistrict 35A, covering the Perryville and Port Deposit areas, incumbent Republican Del. Kevin Hornberger does not have a primary opponent; a single Democrat, Jobeth Bowers, has filed.

School board

Harford County has six elected school board seats with open primaries, as candidates run with no party affiliation and any registered voter can participate in the primary.

By law, the top two finishers in each County Council district move on to the November general election. This year, Districts A and B seats drew single candidates and the remaining four seats drew two candidates each, so everyone on the primary ballot moves on to the general election.

Among the six incumbent elected board members – three other seats are filled by the governor – Jansen Robinson is seeking re-election in District A and is unopposed; Robert Frisch in District B is term-limited and not running; Joseph Voskuhl in District C is not seeking a second term; Nancy Reynolds in District D is not running, but one of the two candidates, Albert Williamson, is currently an appointed member; Rachel Gauthier in District E is seeking a second term, as is Thomas Fitzpatrick in District F.

Those elected to the board this year will not begin their four-year terms until July 1, 2019, along with the three appointed members.

State races

Incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan is unopposed in the Republican primary as he seeks a second term. There are nine Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to take on Hogan in November.

Incumbent Comptroller Peter Franchot and incumbent Attorney General Brian Frosh, both Democrats, don’t have primary opposition; and just one Republican candidate has filed for each of those offices.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, has seven primary opponents. There are 10 Republicans vying for their party’s nomination.

In the House of Representative races, incumbent Congressmen Andy Harris, Republican, in District 1 that includes central and northern Harford, and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, Democrat ,in District 2 that includes southern Harford, also are heavy favorites to take their respective primaries.

Harris has two opponents in the GOP primary, while six Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination. Ruppersberger has a single opponent in the Democratic primary, while four candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination in District 2.

avought@theaegis.com

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