Candidates File To Contest Posts

BERLIN – The deadline to
file for elected office came and went this week with few surprises, although
some offices that haven’t been challenged for several years will see races in

When the filing deadline
expired Tuesday, nearly every elected office on the local ballot had at least
two candidates, save for a couple of Board of Education seats and a rather
conspicuous County Commissioner seat.

With a groundswell of
momentum for change, even the seemingly apolitical elected positions on the
ballot are being challenged this fall. For example, Worcester County Clerk of
Circuit Court Stephen Hales was first elected to the position in 1998 after a
long run as Register of Wills and has not been challenged in any election
since. However, Hales in November will face Republican challenger Mary Burgess,
an Ocean Pines resident with a track record of public service.

Burgess, an active
realtor with Prudential Carruthers, said last week she became interested in
filing for the Clerk of Circuit Court position when she realized how long it
had been since Hales was challenged. Her background includes 28 years of public
service in Prince George’s County, 26 of which were spent in and around the
county’s judicial system in various capacities.

“I’ve always loved the
work and it gets in your blood,” she said. “When I looked at this, I was kind
of amazed he never had any opposition. In P.G. County, there were always a lot
of challengers for every elected position as it should be. This is still a
democracy, not a dynasty.”

Similarly, another
courthouse elected position, unchallenged for eight years, will see a contested
election this fall. Long-time Register of Wills Charlotte Cathell, elected in
1998, will be challenged by Republican George Coleburn, who reportedly filed on
Tuesday’s deadline.

In the Worcester County
State’s Attorney race, long-time incumbent Joel Todd will face challenger Beau
Oglesby, who narrowly lost by a mere 14 votes in 2006.

Four candidates are
vying for Worcester County Sheriff, including Republicans Reggie Mason and
David Catrino, along with Democrats Bobby Brittingham and Carroll Overholt. The
three sitting Judges of Orphan’s Court, Bill Shockley, Dale Smack and Linda
Hess, are all running unopposed and will retain their positions.

Of the four Board of
Education seats up for grabs, only one will be contested this fall. Republican
Craig Theobald will challenge sitting school board member Donnie Shockley for
the District 4 seat after filing last Friday. Other sitting school board
members Bob Hulburd, Bob Rothermel and Doug Dryden are not opposed and will
retain their positions.