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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Frederick County, Maryland County Executive and Council Results

George Wenschhof

Turnout was indeed high for a midterm election with a 58.44% turnout with 101,049 votes cast out of 172,907 registered voters during early voting and the 2018 general election.  Early voting favored Democratic candidates and as I suspected unaffiliated and write-in candidates would fall flat.

Frederick County incumbent county executive Jan Gardner (D) won reelection against Republican challenger Kathy Afzali with 51% of the vote.  Gardner (14,682) would win by 6,678 votes over Afzali (8,004) during early voting and she would win after general election day with early voting added in by 7,184 – Gardner (50,974) – Afzali (43,790).  So, on general election day Gardner (36,292) would beat Afzali (35,786) by 506 votes.  Earl Robbins, the unaffiliated candidate for county executive would only receive 4,639 votes total of the 99,502 votes cast for county executive during early voting and the general election.

In the county council race where voters elect two countywide (at-large) and 5 by districts, several races are still to be determined by the count of absentee and provisional ballots

In the at-large race, Democrat Kai Hagen (43,002), Phil Dacey (R) (42,781) and Danny Farrar (R) (42,531) are lock in a close contest to determine the two winners.  Absentee and provisional ballots will determine this race.  However, Hagen with a 471 vote lead over Farrar is in a good position to be one of the winners with the other decided between the two Republicans where only 250 votes separate them.

Democrat Susan Reeder Jessee (40,545) would come in a close fourth and incumbent council president Bud Otis (12,450) who changed party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated came in last.  Four years ago Otis received the most votes in this race as a Republican candidate and Jessee came in a close third.

The district 1 county council race is another nail biter with Republican challenger Kevin Grubb(10,876) holding a 57 vote lead over incumbent Democrat Jerry Donald (10,819). Interestingly, Donald would come from behind four years ago when he beat Ellen Bartlett (R) after absentee and provisional ballots were counted.

The write in ballot by Republican district 2 council member Tony Chmelik was a dud with him receiving only 749 votes out of the 22,694 total votes cast.  Republican Steve McKay (13,054) who beat Chmelik in the primary election would win easily against Democrat Lisa Jarosinski (8,891) in a heavy Republican voter registered district.

Democratic incumbent district 3 council member M. C. Keegen-Ayer(10,343) would easily win reelection against Republican challenger Joe Parsley (5,974).

In district 4, incumbent Democrat Jessica Fitzwater (11,023) easily beat Republican challenger Jimmy Trout (6,901).

Republican candidate Michael Blue (11,671) would easily win the district 5 council seat vacated by incumbent Kirby Delauter who would be beat by Kathy Afzali in the Republican primary election county executive race.  Democrat Shannon Bohrer  would receive 6425 votes.

Regardless of which party, after district 1 and the at-large races are determined following the absentee and provisional count, the animosity that existed between three Republican council members and Democratic county executive Jan Gardner will not continue.  Republican at-large council member Billy Shreve lost in the Republican primary election to Craig Giangrande in his bid for district 3 Maryland state senate.  Shreve, Delauter and Chmelik who were all antagonists against Gardner are now out of office.

Democrats will have two members on the county council with Fitzwater (district 4) and M. C. Keegen-Aeyer (district 3).  Republicans will have two members on the council with Michael Blue (district 5), Steve McKay (district 2).

The party makeup of the other three council members will be decided following the absentee and provisional count.  The odds favor Democrat Kai Hagen to win one of the two at-large seats.  Which means either Republican Dacey or Farrar will win the other at-large seat.

This means the winner of district 2 race between Grubb (R) and Donald (D) will determine which party will have a majority on the board.

If Hagen and Donald win for a Democratic majority look to see Hagen be made council president.  If Republicans win the majority and Dacey is elected at-large, he could be made council president.  That is unless, McKay, who is known to favor Gardner, votes to support Kai for president.  Who is made county council president will be interesting to watch.

Editor's Update: The first round of absentee ballots will be counted on Thursday Nov. 8 beginning at 10:00 AM by the Frederick County Board of Elections. In the District 1 race, there are presently 425 Democratic Ballots, 232 Republican Ballots and 135 "Others" Ballots to be counted. Democrat Jerry Donald is 57 votes behind Republican Kevin Grubb after the general election.

In the at-large council race where two candidates are elected, there are 3,592 ballots to be counted with the breakdown by party as follows: Democratic - 1953, Republican - 1,003 and Others - 654. After early voting and the general election the three candidates vying for the two positions are Kai Hagen (D) - 43,002, Phil Dacey (R) 42,781 and Danny Farrar (R) 42,531.

Editor's Update:  Vote counting is continuing with the Frederick County board of elections issuing a statement they will finish on Friday Nov.9 and post results in the afternoon.

Stay tuned.

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