Worcester Commissioner Seeks 2nd Term

SNOW HILL — Worcester County Commissioner Jim Bunting filed for re-election this week, making his District 6 seat the first contested race between a challenger and incumbent for 2014.
It will also be a re-match between Bunting and challenger Linda Busick, a former commissioner who lost the Republican primary to Bunting in 2010.
Though he won the first race, 62 percent of the vote to 38 percent, or 652 votes to 396, Bunting said that he is not going to allow his campaign to grow lazy in 2014.
“I’m going to work just as hard as I did three years ago and I’m not taking anything for granted,” he said.
The original match between Bunting and Busick was one of the more energized of 2010. After losing the primary, Busick had planned to launch a write-in campaign, though she decided to call that off late in September 2010. This time around, however, Busick claimed that many of the District 6 constituents she represented from 2006 to 2010 have reached out to her complaining about under-representation.
“Since I have been in my current, civilian capacity, I have received numerous calls over the past four years,” she said last week. “And I’m not talking now and again, but continually I get calls from people who were my constituents.”
But Bunting believes that his district is more than satisfied with how he’s represented them, categorizing his first term as successful.
“Not to be arrogant but I’d say on a [scale of] 1 to 10, I’d say about 7 or 8,” he said. “I had a list of goals I wanted to accomplish in my first four years and, for the majority, I’ve done what I said I would do.”
Among his memorable projects, Bunting pointed to efforts he’s made to improve drainage in Ocean Pines, his role in helping select Bill Badger as the new director of economic development for the county and his emphasis on cost cutting.
“I’ve looked at every dollar and tried to save every dollar I could and actually didn’t vote for two of three budgets because I didn’t think we cut enough,” he said.
During the 2010 race, Busick accused Bunting of being more interested in protecting developers than natural resources. Bunting answered that charge this week, offering his first term as evidence that he has shown balance.
“I’ve really tried to promote economic development, in other words, commercial … commercial brings jobs and brings revenue into the county, so I am supportive of that,” Bunting said. “At the same time, every time we’ve had a conservation easement or a land easement come to us, I’ve voted for every one of them. I’ve tried to conserve as much land in Worcester County as we can.”
Oddly enough, one area with both candidates agreed on is their passion for education. Both Bunting and Busick have made a new Showell Elementary School (SES) a priority if they should win the election.
“Naturally, Showell Elementary is going to be a key thing, trying to get that done,” said Bunting. “Everything at the county level moves like molasses but I’m committed to getting all of those kids out of the trailers at Showell Elementary and into a good new school.”
Busick made a similar statement last week, saying that she is “definitely concerned about my Showell Elementary School that the children have had to go to school in, and utilize” mobile classrooms extensively.
Even with Bunting filing this week the Worcester County Commission race is still largely open. Besides Busick, the only other non-incumbents to file are Tom Wilson (D) and Ray Unger (R), both seeking the District 5 chair which Commissioner Judy Boggs will leave open next year. Incumbent Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw has also filed for re-election to District 1.