Republicans swept all the key races in Harford County Tuesday, winning the county executive, County Council president, the County Council, the sheriff and state’s attorney’s races.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler easily won re-election as the leading vote-getters, with Glassman receiving 67.79 percent of the vote in his race with 71,496 votes and Gahler receiving 71,141 votes that was 68.64 percent of the vote in his race.
With 96.77 percent of the vote counted Tuesday night, turnout was 59.51 percent with 107,246 of Harford’s 180,209 registered voters casting ballots.
“We’re just thankful that the voters of Harford County gave me a chance to do four more years,” Glassman said while at his campaign headquarters in downtown Bel Air Tuesday night.
Plans for his second and final term — the Harford County executive is limited to two four-year terms — include continued improvement of the county’s financial picture, improved funding for education and public safety, plus the development of the Advanced Manufacturing, Materials and Processes center in Aberdeen, and the opening of the Harford County Behavioral Health Crisis Center in Bel Air.
“We’re excited,” Glassman said. “I think there’s a lot more work to do and we look forward to moving the county forward.”
The upcoming term, which begins with the inauguration of the county executive and County Council in early December, will be the last time Glassman holds a local office. His political career has stretched over nearly 30 years, starting with his election to the council in 1990. Glassman later served in the Maryland House of Delegates and state Senate before being elected to his first term as Harford executive in 2014.
“It’s been a 30-year run for me, serving the people of Harford County, and I’ve been blessed to give back and they’ve given me so much, and we just look forward to another four years,” Glassman said.
He said he will “wait and see what the Lord has in play for me in the future, but I just look forward to serving and getting a lot of things accomplished here locally.”
In one of the more closely watched races in Harford County, Diane Adkins-Tobin with 49,100 votes and Paul W. Ishak with 45,397 votes were elected Circuit Court judges. Sitting Judge Lawrence F. Kreis Jr., who was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan to the bench last year, was third with 34,921 and Thomas Ashwell was fourth with 22,398 votes.
Patrick Vincenti, the District E representative on the County Council, won 63 percent of the vote and was elected council president. He will succeed President Richard Slutzky, who is retiring after 16 years on the council.
Vincenti, who visited Glassman’s headquarters shortly after the results came in, was still absorbing his win as he spoke with The Aegis.
“I’m very honored, very pleased,” he said. “We’ve worked very hard; our entire campaign team has worked very hard to get us where we are today.”
Vincenti’s initial goals for the next council term include doing “all of the things that make Harford County a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
“I’ve said that constantly and consistently, and I truly believe that,” he added.
Andre Johnson became the first Edgewood resident elected to the Harford County Council and its only Democrat for the next four years — all seven members of the current council are Republicans. He was elected from District A, representing Edgewood, Joppa and one Abingdon precinct.
“It was a contested, hard fought victory,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “I want to thank all the people that supported me.”
He expressed thanks to his opponent, Republican Donna Blasdell, “for being a tough competitor.”
“Now it’s time to move forward and get District A on the right track,” Johnson said. “I hope that the community as a whole comes together so we can move things forward.”
He called being the first Edgewood resident — and first African-American — to represent District A “big time.”
“It’s a lot of weight on my shoulders, but I’m ready to go ahead and take that weight on and hopefully do a great job for the district,” he said.
Johnson also pledged to work across party lines with his Republican colleagues.
“It’s going to be tough sledding to match up our core values, as far as what I think is important versus what other people on the council think is important,” he said. “I’m definitely going to try to work in a bipartisan fashion to definitely get things accomplished.”
Republicans Joe Woods from District B, representing Fallston; Chad Shrodes, from District D, representing northern Harford; and Curtis Beulah, from District F, representing Abingdon and Havre de Grace, were all re-elected to the council.
Woods, who won a third full term, will be a senior member of the council.
“I’m glad we’re back, thanks [to] everyone for all the support,” he said while visiting with Glassman. “Team Joe Woods did a great job.”
He praised his opponent, Democrat Suzanne Oshinsky, for running a positive campaign and stressed he ran a positive campaign, too. He said he had discussed with Oshinsky her serving on a citizen advisory committee for the Harford County Board of Education, since education had been a key plank in her campaign platform.
“I can’t say enough about Suzanne as an opponent,” Woods said. “Her team did a great job.”
Republican Robert S. Wagner, who has been out of office for the past 12 years, but was previously elected council president and the District E council member representing Aberdeen, Churchville and greater Bel Air, was easily returned to that same district seat despite his long absence from politics.
Republican newcomer Tony “G” Giangiordano was elected from council District C, the Town of Bel Air and the surrounding area, succeeding Councilman Jim McMahan.
Woods pledged to help new council members as much as he can.
“For a new person, it takes a good six months to a year understand what you’re doing and learn everything,” he said.
Republicans James Reilly, the incumbent clerk of the Circuit Court, and Derek K. Hopkins, the incumbent register of wills, were easily re-elected.
Republican Albert Peisinger won 64 percent of the vote and a four-year term as Harford County State’s Attorney, replacing the retiring Joseph Cassilly, one of the longest serving elected officials in Harford County history. Cassilly, 65, was elected in 1982 to the first of his nine consecutive terms as the county’s top criminal prosecutor.
Jansen M. Robinson, from the Edgewood-Joppatowne area, and David Bauer, from the Fallston area, were elected to the Harford County Board of Education without opposition. In the other school board races, Kathyrn Carmello defeated Jim Antal, 60 percent to 39 percent, to represent Bel Air; Tamera Rush defeated incumbent Alfred “Al” Williamson, 61 percent to 38 percent, to represent northern Harford; Rachel Gauthier defeated Art Kaff, 71 percent to 28 percent, to represent Aberdeen and Churchville; and Sonja Karwacki defeated Thomas Fitzpatrick, 52 percent to 47 percent, to represent Abingdon and Havre de Grace.
Nearly 60 percent of Harford’s 180,209 registered voters turned out Tuesday and during the preceding seven-day early voting period, according to unofficial results posted on the Harford County Board of Elections website.
Traffic was steady at local precincts on Election Day despite rainy weather.
“It’s phenomenal,” Woods said. “I’m thrilled with it; I think people did a great job turning out, especially [with] the weather.”
Glassman, the county executive, said Democrats and Republicans had success Tuesday, with the GOP retaining council seats in northern Harford and Democrats picking up seats on the County Council and state legislature in southern Harford districts.
“I think you’ve seen [the county] really begin to evolve into more of a two-party area,” Glassman said.
Republicans have dominated county politics for years, and the GOP holds nearly every elected office in the county government and legislative delegation. School board elections are nonpartisan.
Bel Air resident Alison Elliott, a volunteer for several local Democratic candidates and a member of the community group Together We Will, picked up campaign signs in front of Bel Air Elementary School, which was a polling place for Election Day, in the dark Tuesday night.
“I’m glad we got a Democrat on [the County Council,” she said of Johnson’s victory. “I would have liked to have seen some women on the council.”
The current council is all male, and it will remain so going into its next term.
“I am very optimistic for 2020,” Elliott said. “This was the beginning; I think Democrats are making a resurgence in Harford County.”