The results from Election Day, Nov. 6 have been completed with the final counts of absentee and provisional ballots. Three contested races were close enough that absentees could have changed the order of finish. But after all votes were tallied for the County Commissioners, the Judge of Orphans’ Court and the Board of Education, the trailing candidates did not receive enough votes to overtake the leaders.
Republicans Tom Mason and Bob Jacob — both first-time candidates — and Democratic incumbent Ron Fithian are the winners in the County Commissioners’ contest. The three Democrats on the ballot all gained votes on their Republican rivals in the absentee count, but the only effect on the winners was to move Fithian into second place behind Jacob. Incumbents William Pickrum and Billy Short, along with challenger Tom Timberman, were defeated. The contest was close, with only 149 votes separating third and fourth places. The commissioners will be sworn in in January, and will serve four-year terms.
In the Board of Education contest, incumbents Trish McGee and Wendy Costa were joined by newcomer Nivek Johnson for the three seats to be filled. Francoise Sullivan, a member of the Support Our Schools group, was in fourth place after all votes were counted, trailing Johnson by 116 votes. McGee, who is incumbent president, easily won re-election, more than 2,000 votes ahead of the other candidates. Board members serve four-year terms. There are five positions, three of which were to be filled this year. The other two board members will face re-election in 2020.
In the Orphans’ Court election, Democrat Elroy G. Boyer Jr. and Republicans Amy Nickerson and Betty Carroll were elected to the three seats. Democratic challenger Allan Schauber came in fourth, less than 100 votes short of third place.
The only other contested Kent County race had Democrat Bryan DiGregory elected States Attorney over Republican Robert Strong, gaining nearly 60% of the vote. DiGregory is currently the Deputy States Attorney, while Strong held the post for 16 years before making an unsuccessful run to unseat Clerk of the Circuit Court Mark Mumford four years ago.
Other local offices were uncontested. Sheriff John Price, Clerk of Circuit Court Mark Mumford and Register of Wills Kristi Osborne were all elected by wide margins over write-in opposition. And three judges — Harris Murphy, Donald Beachley and Matthew Fader — received solid endorsements from the voters for continuance in office.
On the rest of the ballot, Kent voted to return incumbents to state and federal offices, regardless of party. Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Comptroller of Maryland Peter Franchot and States Attorney Brian Frosh, all Democrats, won in Kent as well as state-wide. Kent was the only Eastern Shore county to back Frosh, and one of only two to back Cardin, although both ran up wide enough margins to win easily state-wide.
In the First District Congressional contest, Kent was one of only two counties — Talbot was the other — won by Democrat Jesse Colvin in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Andrew Harris, who scored 60% of the vote district-wide. Colvin, who campaigned heavily in Kent, won 54% of the vote here.
The delegation to the General Assembly in Annapolis was returned with comfortable margins both in Kent and district-wide. State Senator Steve Hershey and Delegates Jay Jacobs, Jeff Ghrist and Steve Arentz, all Republicans, will return to Annapolis to represent District 36, which includes Kent, Caroline, Queen Anne’s and part of Cecil counties.
Looking at the big picture, Kent showed more evidence of the national “blue wave” than other Shore counties, though Republicans picked up a seat on the County Commission and held their own in the General Assembly offices. And with a couple of exceptions, incumbents did very well in the county. Interestingly, the totals from Early Voting and absentee ballots tended to favor Democrats, while Republicans did much better on Election Day.
Results from Kent County Board of Elections website
For full results, visit the Board of Elections website.