SNOW HILL – Voters selected three incumbents and one newcomer to serve on the board of county commissioners in Tuesday’s election.
In what proved to be the closest contest in this year’s Worcester County Commissioners election, Pocomoke voters chose Democrat Joshua Nordstrom to replace incumbent Merrill Lockfaw in District 1. In the northern part of the county, Commissioner Bud Church easily defeated challenger Zack Tyndall while Commissioner Chip Bertino defeated Democrat Judy Butler. In District 4, Commissioner Ted Elder came out ahead of Virgil Shockley by 219 votes.
“I’m so grateful for the support I’ve gotten,” said Nordstrom, adding that the victory was overwhelming. “I’ve had a lot of people from all over call me. I’ve been on the phone nonstop just trying to thank everybody.”
Nordstrom had a slight lead after early voting — 144 votes to Lockfaw’s 119 — and increased his lead on Election Day, receiving 1,177 votes Tuesday while Lockfaw, who has represented Pocomoke for the past eight years, received 1,019 votes. Final vote counts showed Nordstrom with 53 percent of votes.
Nordstrom credits the months he spent going door-to-door campaigning with earning him the majority of the votes cast.
“That was the most important thing I did this election cycle,” he said. There’s no substitute for face-to-face conversation. It allowed people to put a face with a name. It allowed me to engage them, to listen to them and understand the issues. You can have different issues and concerns block to block. The only way to find out what those are is to go talk to them and listen. It was a great learning experience. People know me now.”
In District 3, Republican incumbent Church was in the lead following early voting and went on to widen the margin on Election Day. Church, who will now begin his fifth term as a county commissioner, received 2,302 votes while Tyndall, a first-term town councilman in Berlin, received 1,182 votes.
A message on the “Citizens for Bud Church” Facebook page thanked voters late Tuesday night.
“He was victorious in the election and will remain your county commissioner for District 3,” the statement read. “He will continue to work tirelessly for Worcester County. You and your votes are appreciated.”
Tyndall also quickly went to Facebook to comment on the election.
“It has been my pleasure to run for Worcester County Commissioner-District 3,” Tyndall wrote on his Facebook page. “Over the past 10 months, I have had the opportunity to meet with so many great people. Fortunately for all of us, we live in a country that allows the people to have a choice. I respect the choice of the people of District 3 and humbly wish Commissioner Church the best over the next four years.”
In District 4, Elder and Shockley squared off for the fourth time. Shockley, who represented the district from 1998 to 2014, defeated Elder in 2006 and 2010 but was unseated by the Whaleyville resident in 2014. This year, Elder took the lead in early voting and at the end of Election Day had earned 54 percent of the votes cast. He received 1,586 votes while Shockley received 1,367. Elder said the results were in line with what he’d expected.
“I’m looking forward to working as hard as I did the last four years, maybe even harder, for the people of my district,” he said. “That’s what I do it for.”
In District 5, Ocean Pines residents clearly favored Republican Bertino, who received 63 percent of votes. There were 2,516 ballots cast for Bertino and 1,451 cast for Butler.
“I’m extremely humbled to have the opportunity to serve another four years,” Bertino said.
He said he hoped that the wide margin of victory meant voters appreciated his efforts to be transparent and active within the community.
“The results last night signify I’m on the right track,” he said.
In the Worcester County Register of Wills race, Terri Westcott defeated Nicole Caudell. Westcott, the longtime deputy to retiring Register of Wills Charlotte Cathell, received 65 percent of the votes cast. Westcott has worked in the Register of Wills office for 19 years.
On the county front, voters overwhelmingly supported the re-election of Gov. Larry Hogan to a second term. Hogan received 76% of the vote, or 16,925 votes. Statewide, Hogan was re-elected with 56% of the vote.
For comptroller, Worcester County sided with statewide winner Democrat Peter Franchot, 52% of the vote, over Republican Anjali Phukan. Franchot was re-elected easily winning 72% of the vote statewide.
In the attorney general race, Worcester County went heavy for Republican Craig Wolf, 61%, but Democrat Brian Frosh was re-elected statewide, securing 64% of the state’s votes.
For Congress, Worcester voters gave Republican Andy Harris their endorsement with 61% of votes going to the incumbent and 38% to Democratic challenger Jesse Colvin. Harris ended up being re-elected by the district, securing 61 percent of the vote.