Candidate Field Set With Deadline Passing; Primary Election On June 24

BERLIN — The official filing date for candidacy in the upcoming primary and general elections passed this week with a flurry of late activity, setting the stage for several spirited campaigns although a handful of races were essentially decided.

The filing deadline for the June 24 primary and the Nov. 4 general elections closed on Tuesday and nearly every state, regional and local office will have multiple challengers with the exception of a relatively important few. In some instances, only single candidates filed for seats and were essentially elected on Tuesday with the passage of the filing deadline. However, there are still opportunities for the respective central committees to put up a challenger and other filing deadlines are still out there for non-principal candidates, such as Libertarian or Green party candidates, as well as a petition candidates and write-in candidates under certain conditions.

At the state level for the Lower Shore, each of the races has at least two candidates and some have as many as three. For example, for the District 38 Senate seat, incumbent Democrat Jim Mathias has filed for re-election and will be challenged by Republican District 38-B Delegate Mike McDermott, whose old district was carved into a new three-district system on the Lower Shore.

In the newly created District 38-C, which encompasses all of Worcester and a part of Wicomico, three candidates have filed including Republican Mary Beth Carozza and Democrats Judy Davis and Mike Hindi. Davis and Hindi will square off in the primary for the right to face Carozza in November. In District 38-B, incumbent Democrat Norm Conway is being challenged by Republican Carl Anderton, mayor of Delmar. In District 38-A, Democrat Percy Purnell will challenge incumbent Republican Charles Otto.

In House of Delegates District 37-A, which encompasses much of Wicomico, Democrat and current Wicomico County Councilmember Sheree Sample-Hughes had filed to challenge longtime incumbent Democrat Rudy Cane, but Cane inexplicably withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday.

On the local level, two of the Worcester County Commissioner races feature just one candidate after the filing deadline passed on Tuesday. Incumbent Merrill Lockfaw currently stands as the lone candidate in District 1, while Ocean City Councilman Joe Mitrecic was left unchallenged in District 7, or the stand-alone Ocean City district, when the filing deadline passed on Tuesday.

In District 2, or the mandatory minority district, Democrat Diana Purnell will face Republican Lorraine Purnell-Ayres in the general election in November. In District 3, Republican incumbent and County Commission President Bud Church will be challenged by Democrat Michael Maykrantz in November.

Four candidates filed for election in District 4 including Democrat incumbent Virgil Shockley and three Republican challengers including Kathryn Danko-Lord, Ted Elder and Molly Hilligoss. The three Republicans will square off in the primary with the top vote-getter advancing to face Shockley.

A similar situation will play out in District 4, or the Ocean Pines district, with one Democrat, Tom Wilson, filing along with three Republicans including Chip Bertino, Helvey Grant and Ray Unger. Wilson advances to the general election, while the top vote-getter among the three Republican challengers will advance to take over retiring Commissioner Judy Boggs’ seat. In District 6, a pair of familiar political foes in incumbent Republican Madison Bunting, Jr. and former Commissioner and Republican Linda Busick will face off in the primary with the winner claiming the seat in June.

In what promises to be another spirited Worcester County State’s Attorney campaign, incumbent Republican Beau Oglesby will face Democratic challenger Michael Farlow.

As many as six candidates filed for the Worcester County Clerk of Circuit Court seat including Democrats Marie Bodley and Valerie Gaskill, and Republicans Susan Braniecki, Mary Burgess, Eric Mullens and Marty Pusey. However, Pusey filed on Tuesday and withdrew on Wednesday.

Longtime Register of Wills Charlotte Cathell has filed for re-election and remains unchallenged after the filing deadline on Tuesday.

Six candidates have filed for the three Judge of Orphan’s Court seats in Worcester including Democrat Bill Shockley and Republicans Linda Hess, Frank Knight, Jack Shook, Jr., Dale Smack and Donald Stifler.

A pair of Republicans, incumbent Reggie Mason and challenger George Truitt, will vie for Worcester County Sheriff in the primary in June.

The Worcester County Board of Education will have contested elections in nearly all of the seats up for election this year. In District 1, incumbent Doug Dryden is the lone candidate and will likely retain his seat. In District 4, six candidates have filed including Curtis Andrews, Scott Baker, Joyce Elder, Bill Gordy, Thom Gulyas and Ben Nelson, Jr. In District 6, incumbent Bob Hulburd will be challenged by Eric Cropper. Two candidates will challenge incumbent Bob Rothermel in District 7, including JeriLyn Holston and Al Schroeder.

Over in Wicomico, an interesting race is shaping up for the County Executive seat. Incumbent Democrat Richard Pollitt, Jr. will be challenged by Republican and current County Councilman Bob Culver. In the Wicomico County Council At-Large election, Republican incumbent and current Council President Matt Holloway will face two Republican challengers in the primary including Muir Boda and John Cannon. Democrat and current Salisbury City Councilwoman Laura Mitchell filed on Tuesday and will await the victor in the Republican primary.

In County Council District 1, three Democrats, including Marvin Ames, Ernest Davis and McKinley Hayward, have filed for the seat, which will be decided in June. In Council District 2, Democrat Kirby Travers will face Republican Marc Kilmer in the general election. In District 3, Democrat Joshua Hastings fill face the winner in the Republican primary race between Larry Dodd and Tom Taylor.

Incumbent Republican John B. Hall is the only candidate to have filed in Council District 4. In Council District 5, Republican incumbent Joe Holloway will be challenged by Democrat Ron Pagano in the general election.

State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello has filed and has no challengers, nor does Clerk of Circuit Court Mark Bowen, Register of Wills Karen Lemon or Sheriff Mike Lewis. Four candidates have filed for Judge of Orphan’s Court including Democrats Norma Lee Barkley, Melissa Pollitt Bright and Pete Evans, and Republican Grover Cantwell, Jr.