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Politics

Anne Arundel candidates gear up for the November general election. Here’s what you need to know.

After a lengthy midterm primary in which some candidates had to wait more than a week to learn the results of their races, party nominees will campaign this month and next ahead of the general election to represent Anne Arundel County at the local, state and federal level.

Candidates have about six weeks to crisscross the county raising money and winning over voters in the lead-up to the Nov. 8 election.

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Voters must register by Oct. 18 or at their polling place on Election Day with proper Maryland documentation. Residents hoping to vote by mail must request their mail-in ballots by Nov. 1 and have their ballots postmarked by Election Day or deposited in a dropbox by 8 p.m. that day.

Early voting starts Oct. 27 and ends Nov. 3.

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Here are the races to look out for.

County council, executive races

Anne Arundel County Executive Democrat Steuart Pittman, who was unopposed in the July primary, has spent this year raising funds and touting his accomplishments from his first four years on the job.

Pittman faces Republican challenger Jessica Haire for reelection. Haire, the one-term County Council member from Edgewater, defeated former Annapolis Del. Herb McMillan by more than 2,000 votes.

Haire, who is married to Dirk Haire, chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, faced criticism during her primary campaign for accepting tens of thousands of dollars from a Montgomery County developer that has sought to build a landfill in Odenton that many in the community oppose. Haire has fired back that Pittman Pittman received $2,500 from Conifer Realty, a developer that is building a workforce housing project in Odenton. He also granted the company a tax break, a move that was approved by a majority of the County Council.

On Oct. 18, Pittman and Haire will participate in a debate at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. The Capital and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce will co-host the event.

Two Democratic incumbents and two Republican incumbents on the County Council are seeking a second term.

In District 1, , former Council member Pete Smith takes on Republican Jeremy Shifflett to fill the seat Sarah Lacey left to run for State Senate.

The District 2 race will match incumbent Democrat Allison Pickard against Republican Noel Smith and Libertarian David Sgambellone.

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After being unopposed in his primary, incumbent Republican Nathan Volke in District 3 will face Democrat Michael Gendel who filed to run as a write-in candidate last month.

Following two close primaries, Republican Cheryl Renshaw and Democratic former Anne Arundel County Board of Education member Julie Hummer won their respective races. They will now vie for the District 4 seat soon to be vacated by Andrew Pruski who reached his term limit on the council.

Meanwhile, incumbent Republican Amanda Fiedler will face Democrat Carl Neimeyer in the race to represent District 5.

Lisa Rodvien, the Democratic incumbent from District 6, will face former Annapolis Mayor Republican Mike Pantelides.

Coming out of another close primary in District 7, Republican Shannon Leadbetter and Democrat Shawn Livingston are seeking the seat Jessica Haire left up for grabs in her run for county executive.

Federal races

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a one-term incumbent, takes on Republican challenger Chris Chaffee, who defeated nine party challengers to win the nomination. Van Hollen defeated Michael Smith in the primary with almost 80% of the vote. A third candidate, Scottie Griffin, a Democrat, filed to run as a write-in last month.

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Van Hollen has represented Maryland in the U.S. Senate since 2017 before which he represented Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties in the House of Representatives for fourteen years. In another term, Van Hollen said he would work toward creating jobs, better access to affordable childcare, lower healthcare costs and protecting the state’s environmental assets like the Chesapeake Bay, according to responses to the Baltimore Sun Media’s voter guide survey.

Chaffee has posted videos to his Facebook page advocating for American energy independence from the rest of the world to combat gas prices and inflation. Chaffee earned about 21% of the vote in the primary.

After redistricting this year, Anne Arundel County will now be represented by Districts 3 and 5 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Democratic incumbent in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District , John Sarbanes won his nomination handily with nearly 85% of the vote. Sarbanes has been a member of the House since 2007. In his Baltimore Sun survey, he said he’d focus on getting special-interest group dollars out of the politics, strengthen the country’s education system and make government processes more transparent.

Sarbanes’ Republican challenger, Yuripzy Morgan, who won her primary race by more than seven percentage points , said in her campaign materials she will provide a new perspective to Congress after Sarbanes’ 15 years in the seat and his father’s, the late Sen. Paul Sarbanes, 30 years in the Senate. She also will work on reducing crime and managing inflation, she said in her survey response.

The state’s 5th Congressional District will feature a race between incumbent Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Republican Chris Palombi, a rematch of a race Hoyer won handily in 2020.

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In another two-year term, Hoyer would work on protecting voters’ rights and helping the nation recover from the pandemic economically, he said. Hoyer has served in the House since 1981. He won a three-way primary with about 71% of the vote. Palombi defeated six Republican opponents with about 68%. On Palombi’s campaign website he promised to work toward reducing the national debt, improving infrastructure and better securing the U.S.’s southern border.

General Assembly

Three State Senate incumbents who represent Anne Arundel County in the Maryland General Assembly won their respective nomination and will seek another term this fall: Democratic state Sens. Sarah Elfreth, from District 30, and Pam Beidle, from District 32, and Republican state Sen. Bryan Simonaire from District 31.

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Elfreth, a first-term legislator who represents the Annapolis area, will face Stacie MacDonald who won her nomination with 75% of the vote. Beidle, a first termer from Linthicum, is being challenged by Republican Kimberly June. Simonaire, a Pasadena representative seeking a fifth term, will face Libertarian Brian Kunkoski.

Following District 33 Republican Sen. Ed Reilly’s retirement, Del. Sid Saab is running to take his place and keep the seat red while Democrat Dawn Gile hopes to flip it.

District 12B, a new district created during legislative redistricting this year that includes parts of Anne Arundel County including Brooklyn Park, will match Republican Ashley Arias against Democrat Gary Simmons. Both Arias and Simmons emerged successful in their primaries thanks to razor-thin margins of 20 votes.

In the House of Delegates, Democratic incumbent Dels. Shaneka Henson and Dana Jones are running to represent District 30A, which includes Annapolis, while newcomer Courtney Buiniskis is running as a Democrat in District 30B, which comprises Shady Side and Deale. They’ll face Republican challengers Doug Rathell and Rob Seyfferth in 30A and incumbent Republican Seth Howard in 30B.

District 31 saw the three Republican incumbents, Brian Chisholm, Nicholaus Kipke and Rachel Munoz defeat their challenger with wide margins. They will face Democrats Kevin Burke and Milad Pooran and Libertarian Travis Lerol in the general election.

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Another trio of incumbents, Democratic Dels. Sandy Bartlett, Mark Chang and Mike Rogers defeated their challenger and will face Republican newcomers Michael Jette, Monica Smearman and Michele Speakman to represent District 32, which includes parts of Glen Burnie, Linthicum, Fort Meade and Maryland City.

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In another House of Delegates race, Democratic County Council member Andrew Pruski defeated opponents to win the party nomination for District 33A by about 16 percentage points. He will face Republican Kim Mills. In District 33B newcomers Republican Stuart Michael Schmidt, who won 70% of his party’s vote, will face Democrat John Wakefield. Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Heather Bagnall will face Republican Kerry Gillespie to represent District 33C.

Other races

Other down-ballot races will feature match-ups between Democratic incumbent Scott Poyer and Republican Terry Gilleland for Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Republican incumbent Lauren Parker takes on Democrat Erica Griswold for Register of Wills.

Republican one-term incumbent Jim Fredericks matches up with Democrat Everett Sesker for Anne Arundel County Sheriff.

Incumbent Democrat Vickie Gipson and Republicans Maureen Carr-York and Nancy Phelps will face Democrat challengers David Duba and Marc Knapp and Republican Tony McConkey for Judges of the Orphans’ Court.

In the Anne Arundel State’s Attorney race Democratic incumbent Anne Colt Leitess is unopposed.


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