SALISBURY – Voters re-elected Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver on Tuesday.
According to preliminary results, Culver, a Republican, received 15,463 votes in Tuesday’s election, beating out Democratic challenger John Hamilton, who received 9,375 votes, and Jack Heath, an independent who received 6,624 votes.
Culver was first elected to the position of county executive in 2014, defeating incumbent Richard Pollitt. Previously, he had served one term on the Wicomico County Council.
When reached for comment on Wednesday, Culver expressed his appreciation for the voters of Wicomico County.
“I am very humbled by the people of Wicomico County,” he said. “It showed they agreed with what direction the county was going and the leadership we have.”
While he was pleased with Tuesday’s results, Culver added he was disappointed with the rhetoric and actions witnessed in the days leading up to the election. He pointed to the disappearance of several campaign signs and messages he found circulating on social media.
“This has been the worst behavior I’ve ever seen in a campaign,” he said. “It’s not okay, and it’s got to change.”
Nevertheless, Culver said he is ready to continue the work he started four years ago, namely efforts to improve county infrastructure and promote the Salisbury airport.
“It’s going to take some time, but we are constantly working on it,” he said. “I feel good about what we have done, and I feel good about what we have planned.”
While it is his first run for public office, Hamilton said he was pleased by Tuesday’s results.
“The goal was to get out and introduce myself to the voters, and the voters I was able to introduce myself to had positive feedback,” he said. “I came in second. Obviously, I would prefer first, but next time that’s what I’m going to aim for.”
Hamilton noted that he plans to run again in the next election.
“I’ve learned a lot and I’m going to take it all and put it to use next time,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”
Heath, who has served as president of the Salisbury City Council since 2015, announced his candidacy for county executive last November.
And while he noted that he was disappointed with the results of Tuesday’s election, Heath said that voters sent a strong message to county leadership.
“I do believe a statement was made,” he said. “If you look at the election results, more than half of the voters obviously did not agree with Mr. Culver. I think the message is we are stronger as a group than we are individually. And I think if we can come together and take advantage of all the things that are going on and utilize that development and that strength we have in the county, we would be much better off.”
Anthony Gutierrez, director of the Wicomico County Board of Elections, said nearly 52 percent of registered voters in Wicomico County – or nearly 32,000 of the registered 61,400 voters – turned out on Tuesday.
“The turnout is higher than it was four years ago,” he said. “In 2014, I believe we had a 46-percent turnout.”
In this week’s county council at-large race, incumbent John Cannon, a Republican, maintained his seat for another term with 14,602 votes, and Democrat William McCain secured a vacant seat on the council with 13,189 votes, both beating out Republican Julie Brewington, who received 12,702 votes, and Democrat Jamaad Gould, who received 10,311 votes.
In the District 2 race for county council, incumbent Marc Kilmer, a Republican, received 5,301 votes, coming out ahead of Democratic challenger Alexander Scott, who secured 2,968 votes. In the District 3 race, incumbent Larry Dodd, a Republican, beat out Democratic challenger Michele Gregory, 4,315-2,819. And in the District 4 race for county council, Democrat Josh Hastings secured a vacant seat on the county council with 2,466 votes, coming out ahead of Republican Suzanah Cain, who received 1,707 votes.
In other contested races, Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes received 18,573 votes, beating out Democratic challenger Seth Mitchell, who received 12,754 votes. In the race for circuit court clerk, James “Bo” McAllister, a Democrat, came out ahead of Republican Chris Adams, 16,574-14,375. And the three open seats in the race for orphans’ court judge went to candidates Mark Bowen (16,707 votes), Grover Green Cantwell Jr. (15,763 votes) and Melissa Pollitt Bright (14,464 votes), who beat out challenger Dean Jones Evans by 3,948 votes.
In the race for judge of the circuit court, candidates Kathleen Beckstead and Matt Maciarello received 20,436 votes and 20,035 votes, respectively.
On the Wicomico County Board of Education, incumbents Don Fitzgerald (14,153) and Michael Murray (11,406) secured the two positions for the at-large seat, beating out challengers Talana Watson (10,153) and Tyrone Cooper (6,656). Incumbent Allen Brown came out ahead of Michelle Bradley, 2,400-1,747, for District 1, David Goslee Sr. beat out incumbent William Turner by 17 votes for District 3 and Ann Brittingham Suthowski came out ahead of David Plotts, 1,849-1,680, for the District 4 seat.