SNOW HILL – With the deadline to file for the upcoming
primary and general elections this fall rapidly approaching, the field of
candidates for local and state positions has started to take shape in the last
week or so, but at least two offices up for grabs are conspicuous by their
apparent lack of challengers.
The Worcester County Board of Elections late yesterday
updated its list of candidates who have filed for election this fall and nearly
every one of the state and local seats on the ballot has at least two
candidates. The deadline to file is Tuesday at 9 p.m., but with the elections
board offices closed Monday in honor of the Fourth of July, any late changes
will likely come under the wire.
While more candidates could file today or before the
deadline on Tuesday, at least two positions on the ballot did not have
challengers as of late yesterday.
Worcester County Commission President and District 3
representative Bud Church, who represents West Ocean City and much of Berlin,
did not have a challenger as of late yesterday, nor did District 7 County
Commissioner Louise Gulyas, who represents Ocean City.
There is some precedent for a sitting County Commissioners
to run unopposed for re-election. Most recently, sitting District 5
Commissioner Judy Boggs ran unopposed the last time around in 2006. For the
upcoming election this fall, with the exception of Church and Gulyas, each of
the other commissioner districts will be challenged.
In District 1, which includes Pocomoke, four challengers
have filed for the seat currently occupied by Commissioner Bobby Cowger, who
will not seek re-election. Democrat Jimmy Schoolfield and Republicans Jerre
Claus, Merrill Lockfaw and Larry Ward will vie for the seat.
In District 2, the so-called minority district that runs
down the spine of the county from Berlin to Snow Hill, incumbent James Purnell
is being challenged by former county NAACP President Edward Lee.
In District 4, fellow Democrat Tom Tucker and Republican
Ted Elder are challenging incumbent Democrat Virgil Shockley. Elder ran
unsuccessfully against Shockley in 2006.
The District 5 race thus far features incumbent Republican
Judy Boggs taking on Democrat John Bodnar and Republican Bob Thompson.
District 6, which includes much of the north end of the
county including parts of Ocean Pines, features incumbent Republican Linda
Busick against fellow Republican Madison “Jim” Bunting, who was the first to
file in any of the commissioner districts.
Again, with the deadline to file still days away, the rest
of the field of candidates for the fall election has started to take shape.
As of late yesterday, incumbent Joel Todd and challenger
Beau Oglesby will face off in the Worcester County State’s Attorney race.
Four challengers have come forward to vie for Worcester
County Sheriff including Bobby Brittingham, David Catrino, Reggie Mason and
It appears Register of Wills Charlotte Cathell will once
again run unopposed, although long-time Clerk of Circuit Court Stephen Hales
will have a challenger for the first time in Ocean Pines resident Mary Burgess.
The three sitting Judges of Orphan’s Court, Linda Hess,
Bill Shockley and Dale Smack, were unopposed as of late yesterday, as were four
sitting Worcester County Board of Education members including Bob Hulburd, Bob
Rothermel, Donnie Shockley and Doug Dryden.
In terms of state offices, including the District 38
Senator and District 38B House of Delegates seats, the field of candidates in
each got suddenly crowded in the last few weeks leading up to Tuesday’s
deadline with the potential for more candidates coming forward.
In the District 38 Senate race, current District 38-B
Delegate James Mathias will square off against Ocean City hotelier Michael
James, who narrowly lost to Mathias in the House of Delegates race in 2006.
Joining Mathias and James in the Senate race with a couple of days to go is
Somerset County Democrat Charles Mickey Lehrer. Mathias and Lehrer will compete
in the September primary, while the Republican James has a clear road to the
General Election, as of deadline yesterday.
Meanwhile, the complexion of the District 38B House of
Delegates seat changed dramatically this week with some late filings.
Incumbent Democrat Norman Conway, along with Pocomoke
Mayor and Republican Mike McDermott, filed early for the district’s House of
Delegates seat, but they were joined this week by Berlin Mayor and Democrat
William “Gee” Williams, Snow Hill Republican Marty Pusey, and Wicomico County Republican
Kaye Kenney of Parsonsburg.