Mayor Faces Two Challengers; Five Council Candidates Seek Three Seats

Mayor Faces Two Challengers; Five Council Candidates Seek Three Seats

OCEAN CITY — The filing deadline for the upcoming Ocean City municipal election passed late Tuesday evening with another new face joining the field for three City Council seats and a familiar face joining a three-man race for mayor.

The filing deadline for Ocean City’s municipal election on Nov. 6 passed at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and the field is now set. Among the seats up for election on Nov. 6 in Ocean City are the mayor’s seat, currently occupied by longtime incumbent Rick Meehan, who formally filed for re-election last week.

Local resident and former city council candidate Joe Cryer filed early on to challenge Meehan. Joining the mayor’s race this week was former councilman Joe Hall, who came up short in two prior runs for re-election to the council after holding a seat for 10 years. In 2012, Hall finished seventh in a crowded field of nine candidates for four open city council seats.

In that election, current councilman Dennis Dare was the top vote-getter after being ousted after a 29-year career as city manager by a then-council majority that included Joe Hall. Dare was the top vote-getter that year, followed by current council secretary Mary Knight and former councilmen Joe Mitrecic and Doug Cymek.

Hall made another run for city council in 2014 and finished sixth overall in an election that featured top vote-getters Matt James, Wayne Hartman, council president Lloyd Martin and councilman Tony DeLuca. Hall did not seek a return to the council in 2016, but late last week threw his hat in the ring to challenge Meehan. As a result, the three candidates for the mayor’s seat on Nov. 6 include Meehan, Cryer and now Hall.

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There was a late entry just before the filing deadline on Tuesday to the field of candidates for three city council seats up for grabs on Nov. 6. Local resident Emily Nock, president of Nock Insurance and active member in the local Jaycees organization, joined a field of four other candidates for three open city council seats on Nov. 6.

Up for grabs in November are the three council seats currently occupied by Martin, James and Hartman. In June, Hartman won the Republican primary for the state House of Delegates District 38-C seat, essentially assuring his election to the state legislature and November and also ensuring at least one new Ocean City councilmember.

Incumbents Martin and James have filed for re-election. They are joined on the ballot by local resident Chris Rudolf, who ran in 2014 and finished in a close fifth for one of four council seats open in that election. Also filing last week for one of the three open council seats was Ocean City Police Department Sergeant Mark Paddack, who is retiring at the end of the month after a 29-year career with the department.

Nock’s filing late Tuesday rounds out the field of candidates for three open seats at five with incumbents Martin and James being challenged by Rudolf, Paddack and Nock.

Another key element on Ocean City’s municipal election ballot on Nov. 6 will be a referendum question regarding binding interest arbitration for the resort’s firefighter-paramedics. In March, the Career Firefighter Paramedics Association of Ocean City, or IAFF Local 4269, submitted a petition seeking binding interest arbitration after collecting signatures throughout much of the last year.

In April, the town’s Board of Elections confirmed the IAFF’s petition met the required number of signatures of 20 percent of the town’s registered voters. With 6,067 registered voters in Ocean City, the union would have needed 1,213 confirmed signatures and the petition submitted came in at 1,414. As a result, the IAFF’s petition for binding interest arbitration will appear as a referendum question on the town’s municipal election ballot on Nov. 6. This week, the IAFF’s campaign signs for the referendum question started dotting the Ocean City landscape.

Meanwhile, some key dates for candidates and voters are quickly approaching. For example, the voter registration deadline is Oct. 16. Residents unable to go to the polls on election day must apply for and submit their municipal absentee ballots to the city clerk’s office by mail or by hand no later than Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. Early voting centers will not include Ocean City’s municipal election on the early voting ballot. To vote in the municipal election, residents must vote in person at the convention center on Nov. 6, or through the absentee ballot process.

There will also be ample opportunities for residents to get to know the candidates. For example, the American Legion Synepuxent Post 166 will host a candidate forum for Ocean City’s mayor and council candidates on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at its post on 22nd Street. The format includes a meet-and-greet social hour from 5-6 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., each candidate will have 10 minutes to address the attendees, followed by a question-and-answer period.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.