Democrats Will Rule in Charles County - Southern Maryland Headline News

Democrats Will Rule in Charles County

Coffey (D) will replace Davis (R) as Sheriff. Dems control seats for County Commissioners, U.S. House of Representatives, State Senate, and State House of Delegates in Charles County.

By David Noss

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. – Yesterday’s election left the Democratic Party in control of all five County Commissioner seats. Incumbents Wayne Cooper and Edith Patterson each beat their Republican opponents—Al Smith and Kurt Wolfgang respectively—by more than 5,000 votes. Cooper will continue to preside over the Commissioners as the President. Sam Graves stole Republican incumbent Candice Kelly’s seat for District One by 20,294 to 15,976 votes.

Democratic Candidates Reuben Collins III and Gary Hodge slaughtered their Republican opponents—Joe Crawford and Bruce Wesbury respectively—by more than 7,000 votes each. Collins now owns the District 3 seat that was vacated by Al Smith in his quest for the Commissioner President’s seat. Hodge will assume the District 4 seat that was vacated by retiring Robert Fuller (D).

There will also be a new Sheriff in town. Fifty-four year old Democrat Rex Wayne Coffey beat out incumbent Fred Davis. Davis has served as the Sheriff since 1994.

Coffey is currently a Major with the Justice Department’s Protective Services where he manages over 160 officers. He is also a retired Lieutenant with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. He resides in Charlotte Hall.

Coffey had the endorsements of the local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 24, the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police, The AFL-CIO, and the National Capitol Federal Firefighters Association, Local 121.

Several candidates ran unopposed for their offices. Jerome Peuler, Jr. (R) will continue as County Treasurer, Leonard Collins, Jr. (D) remains the State’s Attorney, Sharon Hancock (D) remains in her seat as Clerk of the Circuit Court, Susie Bowles (R) will continue as the Register of Wills, and Robert Nalley remains on the bench as Judge of the Circuit Court.

Two Democrats and two Republicans battled for three positions as Judge of the Orphan’s Court. The top three vote getters in order were Warren Bowie (D), Lorraine Berry (D), and Elizabeth Garner (R). Kevin Wedding (R) was the one left standing when the music stopped.

Three incumbents return to serve on the seven-member, non-partisan, Board of Education. In order of most votes received: Roberta "Bobbie" Wise, Maura Cook, Pamela Pedersen, Donald M. Wade, Jennifer S. Abell, Charles E. Carrington, and Collins A. Bailey. Wade, Abell, and Bailey were the incumbents.

At the Federal level, Steny Hoyer beat his Green Party opponent Steven Warner by 19,613 to 4,286 votes for the Fifth District House of Representatives seat. Not surprising given Hoyer’s $2.2M war chest compared to Warner’s paltry $3,978. Hoyer has now officially announced his plans to seek the Majority Leader position. This is the number two position behind Speaker of the House—which many believe will be awarded to Nancy Pelosi. Fellow House Democrats will vote to see who will receive the honor of occupying both positions of power.

The Democrats will also retain control of Charles County’s voice in the State Senate. Both incumbents beat their opponents with plenty of room to spare. Thomas McLain Middleton will continue to represent District 28. The much ballyhooed battle for District 29 ended in a whimper as Roy Dyson crushed his Republican opponent Thomas McKay.

The situation in the House of Delegates was very similar. Only one seat was overturned when Democrat Peter Murphy beat out Republican William Mayer for one of the three Delegate seats in District 28. Democrats will now hold all four of the House Delegate positions for Charles County.

For yesterday’s election, there were 76,274 registered voters in Charles County. Of that total, 37,918 (49.7%) are Democrats, 25,733 (33.7%) are Republicans, and 12,623 (16.5%) are split among the other parties and unaffiliated. The Board of Elections is still calculating the actual voter turnout.

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