Harford County native and Republican state Sen. Bob Cassilly declared victory Tuesday night in the race for county executive.
“I am very honored and deeply humbled to have been entrusted by the voters of Harford County with the responsibility of serving as their next county executive,” Cassilly said in a statement released by his campaign Tuesday night.
Cassilly tallied more than two-thirds of the vote in the race against Democratic challenger Blane Miller, III, based on early voting and Election Day numbers.
“I’m just really thrilled to have gotten the numbers I’m getting out of the citizens of Harford County,” Cassilly said after his campaign party at Independent Brew in Bel Air. “I look forward to serving as their county executive for the next four years.”
An Army veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star for his combat duty in the Iraq War, Cassilly, 64, previously served on the County Council and then as mayor of Bel Air. He’s wrapping up his second term in the state senate.
Cassilly’s family has a long history in the county. One of 12 children, Cassilly’s brothers Joe and Andrew also held political office. Andrew Cassilly served four years in the General Assembly before taking his current position as a senior adviser to Gov. Larry Hogan. Joe Cassilly served 36 years as the county’s state’s attorney before retiring in 2019. He was disbarred last year for lying about withholding evidence from a 1981 murder case he prosecuted.
Raised in Bel Air, Bob Cassilly graduated from Bel Air High School, where he played football and met his wife, Debbie. They have five children and eight grandchildren. The extended Cassilly family has been one of the county’s most prominent families for generations.
“My family has been a part of this beautiful county for over 200 years and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help shape its future as we chart a course that seeks to preserve Harford’s heritage and natural beauty, build on our many strengths, embrace our diversity, and meet the many challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world,” Cassilly said in the statement.
Cassilly’s bid to become the county’s top official was buoyed by residents who tired of what they saw as a developer-friendly county administration led by current County Executive Barry Glassman. Some Democratic voters said they switched parties expressly to vote Cassilly in office.
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While they concede that the development projects already approved by the Glassman administration will probably go forward, those voters expressed hope that Cassilly will squash the “overdevelopment” of the county.
“3P is pleased that Mr. Cassilly has won the county executive position,” Glenn Gillis, political chair for the Protect Perryman Peninsula (3P) coalition, wrote in a text on Thursday. “We look forward to working with him and the County Council to fairly resolve our specific Perryman issues, while also updating the Harford County zoning code and planning/development processes to be community based rather than developer based.“
Gillis pointed out that during his campaign, Cassilly said he opposed the planned mega distribution center on the Perryman Peninsula. Cassilly said it was “unfair to, and unsafe for, the other landowners on the Perryman Peninsula and a risk to a fragile environment.”
In his victory statement, Cassilly thanked his campaign volunteers and congratulated Miller on his efforts. He also said he looks forward to working with Glassman’s team during the transition ahead of a Dec. 5 inauguration ceremony, which will be held at APG Federal Credit Union Arena on the Harford Community College campus in Bel Air.
Glassman, a Republican, was unsuccessful in his bid for state comptroller, losing to Democrat Brooke Lierman.
Cassilly’s team is already at work setting up transition committees that will be tasked with reviewing each department within Harford County Government and is taking applications for the transition team and positions in his new administration. He opened a transition office at 9 West Courtland Street in Bel Air.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Glassman administration has approved a proposed development project in Perryman. The Perryman development has not received final approval. The Aegis regrets the error.