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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

McClement Wins with Plurality, Democrats Maintain a Super Majority on the Board

George Wenschhof

Aldermen O'Connor and Russell tally the votes
Sadly, as I had predicted, the off-year City of Frederick election resulted in a 22% voter turnout with about 10% of the registered voters electing the mayor. 

Republican mayor Randy McClement easily won re-election to a second term with 49% of the vote.  Democratic challenger Karen Young finished second with 32% of the vote and Unaffiliated Jennifer Dougherty was third with 19% of the vote.

The low voter turnout resulted in Randy winning with only 3,714 votes out of 35,500 registered voters in the city. There is no run-off provision in the city that would guarantee the winner would receive a majority of the vote.

This marks the fourth loss out of five tries for mayor for Dougherty. Her entry into the race as an Unaffiliated candidate combined with the endorsement of McClement by disgruntled Democratic Maryland state delegate Galen Clagett, who lost to Karen Young in the Democratic primary, once again contributed to a Republican winning the mayor in a city with a majority of Democratic registered voters.

The votes cast for Dougherty (1,480) were less than the number of signatures she obtained to qualify to run as an Unaffiliated candidate.

The combined votes of Young and Dougherty would have been 3,887 or 51% of the vote.

The board of alderman race, where voters elect five, went largely as expected.  Four Democrats and one Republican were elected, which maintains the super majority currently held on the board by Democrats.

The first and second place finishers were Democratic incumbents Kelly Russell (4,212 votes) and Michael O’Connor (4,169).  Democrat Josh Bokee came in third with 3,789 votes, followed by Republican Phil Dacey (3,781) and Donna Kuzemchak (3,656).

The under votes in the alderman election were 3,596 and there were only 25 under votes in the mayoral election.

Kuzemchak, who had previously served three terms as alderman, won re-election despite some dirty tricks run by the Dacey campaign.

Red Maryland Blog is reporting Ted Dacey, the brother and campaign manager for Phil Dacey was behind the robo-calls made by the Maryland Republican Party.  The negative calls were directed at Kuzemchak.

As, I reported earlier, the Dacey family are close supporters of former Maryland state senator Alex Mooney and Ted had worked for Mooney previously.

Another rumor has the Dacey campaign also behind robo-calls that were misdirecting voters from the Wormans Mill area to an incorrect poll location. Dacey, while serving on the city board of appeals, voted with the Developer and against residents who opposed proposed changes in Wormans Mill town center. 

The dirty tricks used by the Dacey campaign will certainly mar the alderman elect and it remains to be seen if criminal charges will result from the alleged robo-calls misdirecting voters.

There were a little over 800 absentee ballots sent out and as of Monday, about 400 had been received.

While, the order of finish may change between the top four finishers in the alderman race, absentee ballots are not expected to impact their win in the election.

Fifth place finisher Kuzemchak has a 164 vote lead over Republican Katie Nash, but in a multiple candidate race, it is unlikely Nash will be able to make up the ground to win a seat on the board.

Interestingly, the top four alderman-elect received more votes than Mayor McClement and Donna Kuzemchak was only fifty-eight votes behind him.
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