Political Commentary by David Noss, Editor
This was an election that will stand out in history. Not only did Maryland
elect a Republican governor for only the fourth time in the past 100 years, voters in St. Mary's County cleaned house of many Democratic incumbents, bringing an end to, or perhaps just disrupting, the careers of several seemingly politicians-for-life.
Career politician Roy Dyson, the state senator for District 29, and a resident of Great Mills, was obliterated by Republican Steve Waugh. Waugh took 56.77 percent of the vote to Dyson's 43.17. Waugh unsuccessfully challenged Dyson during the previous election. Dyson's turf covers St. Mary's and the lower portion of Calvert.
It came as no surprise to close watchers of the race that Dyson knew he was in for a tough time. In the past, Dyson rarely felt threatened, and therefore expended little money on advertising before an election. This year was drastically different. I received five color glossies in the mail from Dyson's campaign; beginning with the one that threw Dyson's Democratic
colleagues under the bus, specifically calling them "tax and spend politicians." He called Governor O'Malley out by name, but implicitly implicated Anthony Brown (since he was after all the Governor's No. 1) and one of the delegates in his
district, John Bohanan, who voted for the "Rain Tax" that Dyson chided. However, most disappointing were the 2 color glossies that played the fear card. Both showed a young girl on the cover with verbiage like, "The world is even scarier than she imagines." This sort of tactic just seemed like an inappropriate way to end an otherwise respectable political career.
Two attack ads against Waugh also came courtesy of the Maryland Democratic Senatorial Committee Slate. Both made vague references to Waugh's failure to pay business taxes. No specifics were provided.
Next on the list of surprises was the narrow defeat of District 29B Delegate John Bohanan by a thin margin of 115 votes. Republican Deb Ray leads with a vote of 5,148 to 5,033. Absentee and provisional ballots still need to be counted, so this race may not be over. Typically, absentee votes swing red. Bohanan is Senator Dyson's brother-in-law and also works for Rep. Steny Hoyer as a "senior advisor." Bohanan will have access to top notch political advice if they determine there is a way to fight this seeming loss.
In the no surprise category, Tony O'Donnell (R) keeps his seat as delegate for District 29C, which covers St. Mary's and part of Calvert. He beat Democratic challenger Len Zuza with an overall count of 9,504 (68.67%) to 4,322 (31.23%), claiming victory in both counties.
In District 29A, Republican Matt Morgan took Leonardtown attorney Dan Slade to the mat with 65.23% of the vote to Slade's 34.67%. Slade is young and ambitious. I suspect we will hear from him again in some future race.
Moving on to the county results, Board of Commissioners president Jack Russell was handed his hat by Republican challenger Randy Guy. The voter's mandate was clear; Guy took 16,469 votes to Russell's 14,308. Was Guy just riding the Republican wave or are voters finally tired of closed-door, Christmas eve meetings where the commissioners vote to pay $1,189,500 more than the appraised price for a parcel of land for a future school? See http://www.wiki.somd.com/index.php/Hayden_Farm
In District 1, the seat currently held by Republican Cindy Jones was kept by the Republicans with the victory of Tom Jarboe, taking Democrat Merl Evans to the woodshed with 20,564 votes to 9,772.
In District 2, the seat goes to the Republicans with the win of Mike Hewitt over Democrat Bob Schaller with a healthy margin of 17,750 to 13,014. The seat is currently held by Democrat Dan Morris. Did Hewitt ride the Republican wave or were voters wary of Schaller who was forced to leave his highly placed position in county government a few years ago after allegations of impropriety related to a government procurement? In any case, Schaller wins my award for the best looking campaign signs of any candidate in any race. Kudos to his graphics designer.
In District 3, the Republicans hold the seat. John O'Connor beat Democrat Joseph St. Clair 17,007 to 13,191. The position is currently filled by Republican Larry Jarboe.
In District 4, Republican Todd Morgan ran unopposed, and of course won the seat.
So there you have it, the Republicans now hold every seat on the Board of Commissions, changing the mix from the current 3R/2D. But, the proof is in the pudding; will they cut spending and lower taxes? Don't count on it. The county still has a lot of catching up to do in order to provide the infrastructure necessary to support the boomtown facilitated by the massive growth at NAS Patuxent River in recent years. Money doesn't grow on trees (Well, it is printed out of thin air by the privately-owned Federal Reserve. But, that privilege does not extend to us commoners.)
Complete results for St. Mary's County can be found at http://www.co.saint-marys.md.us/supervisorofelections/results/electionresultsfull.asp