Voters Narrow Salisbury Election Field

SALISBURY — The field of candidates for three open Salisbury City Council seats was narrowed to six this week after Tuesday’s primary election although the results remain unofficial pending the counting of absentee ballots.

Salisbury’s City Council will get a dramatic makeover after the General Election in April with has many as three new faces on the five-member elected body, but the first step in the potential upheaval began with Tuesday primary in the non-partisan election. The field of eight candidates was narrowed to six after Tuesday’s primary, although the jury is still out on the sixth and final spot in the General Election on April 5.

Just two votes separated the unofficial sixth top vote-getter on Tuesday, Bruce Ford and the seventh place finisher Joel Dixon. Ford finished with 277 votes, while Dixon came in at 275. However, those results are subject to change with the counting of an unknown number of absentee ballots, which were counted yesterday. The final results had not been made public as of press time on Thursday.

Timothy Spies was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary with 540 total votes, or 18.38-percent of the total. Incumbent Terry Cohen came in a close second with 532 votes, or 18.11 percent. Laura Mitchell was third with 451 votes, or 15.35 percent, while Muir Boda collected 409 votes, or just under 14 percent. Rounding out the field of six candidates likely to advance was Orville Dryden, Jr., who earned 304 votes, or 10.35 percent, and Ford, with his 277 total votes, or 9.43 percent, although it remains possible Dixon could sneak into the field when the absentee ballots are counted.

Of the 11,552 registered voters in Salisbury’s District 2, a total of 2,938 votes were cast. Voters in the district could cast ballots for three candidates. All in all, just 1,099 cards were cast, according to Wicomico County Board of Elections officials, representing just 9.54 percent of the potential total.

Salisbury’s city government includes a mayor and five council members. And the council terms are staggered to prevent a complete turnover in a single election year. Mayor Jim Ireton and current council members Deborah Campbell and Eugenie Shields were elected to office in 2009, leaving the seats currently occupied by Council President Louise Smith and council members Gary Comegys and Terry Cohen up for election in this year’s cycle.

Cohen is seeking another term and advanced to the April 5 General Election with a strong second-place showing on Tuesday. Smith and Comegys did not file for re-election and will be replaced regardless of what happens in April.