Trend For Change Prevailed In Ocean City, Too

Trend For Change Prevailed In Ocean City, Too

Based on the most recent municipal elections, it’s clear Ocean City’s registered votes have an affinity for fresh faces who have not held elected office previously.

Two years ago, Matt James, a young and inexperienced resident, cruised to the highest vote tally among the candidates to win his seat. This week, John Gehrig, a business owner and family man, did essentially the same thing, finishing far ahead of four other incumbents. Four years ago, although hardly a political novice, the same played out, as Dennis Dare dominated his opponents, winning his first term in office.

Clearly the national trend for change and fresh perspective prevailed in Ocean City with Gehrig outpacing his next closest competitor, Tony DeLuca, who was elected two years ago, by 530 votes.

Election season didn’t begin in Ocean City until Oct. 11 when Gehrig filed for a seat. Up until that day it didn’t look like there would be an election because incumbents Doug Cymek, Dennis Dare, Tony DeLuca and Mary Knight had announced their candidacies back in January in an attempt to let the community know they wanted to retain their seats together. It was a clear attempt to squash the competition.

Ironically, it was that team approach and the perceived effort to intimidate potential foes that ultimately caused Gehrig to file for office. The political move and comments of wanting to keep the harmonious team together backfired. If they had not made this awkward public display 10 months ahead of the election, they might have not seen any opponents.

How it all played out at the top on Tuesday was not a surprise. It was clear on election day Gehrig was going to lead the way. It was just a question of by how much. To say he dominated would be an understatement.

The mildest surprise came with the finishers after Gehrig. Going into Tuesday, many figured it would be Gehrig, Dare and Knight with DeLuca and Cymek battling for the last spot. In the end, DeLuca, who actively campaigned over the last month, scored second place, followed by Dare and Knight with Cymek in a distant fifth place.

Cymek did nothing to merit him losing his seat. In fact, none of the incumbents did in all honesty, but this is how the Democratic process should play out. Voters should have choices and they should be respected.

Unlike the national election results that clearly indicate a disdain for the establishment in DC, we don’t think that’s the case in Ocean City. There’s no desire to overthrow City Hall leadership entirely, but there’s a tangible excitement when it comes to fresh ideas, different approaches and new faces.

The message here is voters in Ocean City, as was the case in many places across the country, prefer new and inexperienced political types with a rational and fresh take on matters of the day. They are favored over veteran officials who they perceive as out of touch in some cases.

Two years from now, there will likely be some individuals, like Gehrig, looking to ride the same wave on Tuesday. Two years is a long time, but the last few elections indicate newcomers stand a great chance in this political climate if they are reasoned and qualified.