May 26, 2024
Annapolis, US 83 F

PRIMARY 2018: Our predictions, thoughts, comments

If you have read Eye On Annapolis for more at least an election cycle, you know that we do not do endorsements. Voting is a very personal decision and one that should not be influenced by that latest mailer you received, that nice old lady in the “Elect Whomever” shirt at the polls, or a newspaper or a website. It is YOUR vote and you should vote YOUR conscience.

With that said, we have had our ear to the ground in many of these races and have some predictions and thoughts. And they are just that. They are NOT suggestions for who you should vote for; nor are they a list of people we are voting for. And for the TL;DR crowd:

Colvin, Harris, Ruppersberger, Owens, Sarbanes, Harris, Brown, McDermott, Hoyer, Rice, Cardin, Campbell, Baker, Hogan, Franchot, Phukan, Frosh, Wolf, Holt, George, Harman, Simonaire, Beidle, Bryant, Hurwitz, Reilly, Cain, Axe, Burns, O’Shea, Shay, Howard, Carey, Bennett, Freeman, Simpson, Kipke, Leopold, Bartlett, Chang, Armstrong, Ewing, Bagnall, Luby, Hovermale, Walker, McConkey, Saab, Barber, Crooks, Pittman, Schuh, SmithBurns, Pickard, Gardner, Ritchie, Volke, Pruski, Snow, Myers, Peroutka, MaMullan, Christman, Kitchin, Boniface, Leitess, Adams, Williams, Fredericks, Moyer, Arnold, Janosky, Parker, Gipson, Jacobsen, and three of the 4 Republicans.

Over on The Maryland Crabs Podcast, we offered 10 minutes to the candidates in select races to answer a simple question–why would I vote for you? They could take up to ten minutes and and take it any way they wanted. It was unstructured and (in my opinion) shed an additional light on the candidate in their own words.  You can (and should) listen to them here.  Most candidates wanted to participate. Some declined to answer our invitation (4 were sent by email to their official campaign email address) and others expressed an interest, but then did not get it scheduled before our deadline.

Earlier this year, we opined that voters today are not afraid to shake things up a bit–ask Hogan and Brown, Clinton and Trump, Cohen and Pantelides, Pantelides and Buckley, Astle and Buckley. Some have predicted a “Blue Wave” as a lashback against Trump. I don’t think so.  I think people are looking to change things up in some instances and surprise some folks. With all that said, here is a rundown of all the races with predictions, and in some instances commentary in red. So, let’s get this party started….winners predicted with a bold*:


Congress District 1

  • Dem: Allison Galbraith, Jesse Colvin*, Michael Pullen
  • Rep: Andy Harris*, Martin Elborn

Congress District 2

  • Dem: Dutch Ruppersberger*, Jake Pretot
  • Rep: Hubert Owens*, Mark Shell, Liz Matory, Mitchell Toland

Congress District 3

  • Dem: Adam DeMarco, John Rea, Eduardo Rosas, John Sarbanes*
  • Rep: Charles Anthony, Thomas “Pinkston” Harris*, Rob Seyfferth

Congress District 4

  • Dem: Anthony Brown*
  • Rep: George McDermott*

Congress District 5

  • Dem: Dennis Fritz, Steny Hoyer*
  • Rep: Johnny Rice*, William A. Devine III

US Senate

  • Dem: Ben Cardin*, Debbie “Rica” Wilson, Jerome “Jerry” Segal, Marcia H. Morgan, Chelsea Manning, Erik Jetmir, Lih Young, Richard “Rikki” Vaughn (I believe this is the first time voters had a choice between a “Rica” and a “Rikki” on the ballot.)
  • Rep: Albert Binyahmin Howard, Blaine Taylor, Chris Chaffee, Evan M. Cronhardt, John R. Graziani, Tony Campbell*, Bill Krehnbrink, Brian Charles Vaeth, Christina Grigorian, Gerald I Smith Jr, Nnabu Eze (Close call on this one. It could go either way between Tony Campbell and Christina Grigorian)


Governor / Lt. Governor

  • Dem: Alec Ross, James Hugh Jones II, Ralph Jaffee, Rushern L. Baker III*, Ben Jealous, Jim Shea, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, Rich Madaleno, Valerie Ervin (withdrawn), Kevin Kamenetz (deceased). (With Kamenetz’s death, the frontrunner in all polls has been Rushern Baker. Valerie Ervin might have been a contender, but there were some uphill technical battles with balloting that likely woudl have thwarted a successful run. The Maryland Crabs spoke with Baker last year.  Hear what he had to say!)
  • Rep: Larry Hogan*


Attorney General

  • Dem: Brian E. Frosh*
  • Rep: Craig Wolf*


State Senator, District 30

  • Dem: Sarah Elfreth, Chrissy Holt*(This may be one of those too close to call races. While Sarah has been running a textbook campaign, Chrissy has resonated with the spin-off groups from the Women’s March in DC in January 2017. They are mobilized and effective, and despite her late entry into the race, I would not be surprised to see Chrissy Holt eek out the smallest win.We were able to connect with Chrissy for our recording. Also, with what I see as a pushback on many of the “establishment” this year (more on that later), the tight association with Speaker Busch and Senator Astle may not work in favor of Elfreth. Elfreth is doing all the right things and in 2014, she may have run away with the election. This year, I am not so sure.)
  • Rep: Ron George*

State Senator, District 31

  • Dem: Scott Harman*
  • Rep: Bryan Simonaire*

State Senator, District 32

  • Dem: Pamela Beidle*
  • Rep: John Grasso, Maureen Bryant*(Grasso is a well known name, but some of his antics during his County Council tenure may not resonate with the voters. He was undecided until very late as to which race he wanted to enter. I think Bryant will resonate more with the voters on District 32)

State Senator, District 33

  • Dem: Eve Hurwitz*
  • Rep: Edward R. Reilly*

House of Delegates, District 30A (Selecting 2)

  • Dem: Alice Cain*, Mike Busch, Mary Reese, Aron Axe*(Here is where I think we will see a shift. The establishment candidates are feeling pressure. Mike Busch has done so much for the area during his tenure; but there are a new group of voters in town that are not afraid of change. By far, he has the money and name recognition, but I am not sure it is enough. It will be tight, but I think this race may go the way that the Astle-Buckley primary did for the City of Annapolis. What will be interesting is to see if Cain and Axe (if successful) can come together for the general election. The downside of a Busch loss is that we will lose the perks of having the Speaker of the House of Delegates as our representative.)
  • Rep: Darren Burns*, Bob O’Shea*, Chelsea Gill, Doug Rathell (Bob O’Shea is a former Mayoral candidate in Annapolis (lost to Pantelides in primary) and has been actively campaigning since sitting Delegate Herb McMillan announced he would not seek re-election, has a solid platform on the issues and how he wants to address them. Similarly, Darren Burns is a local attorney and his experience in education and contract law will serve him well. Both Doug Rathell and Chelsea Gill are admirable opponents, I just do not see that their campaigns matured far enough to make that “must vote” impression with voters.)

House of Delegates, District 30B (Selecting 1)

  • Dem: Carmen Skarlupka, Susan Cochran, Mike Shay*(Mike Shay has been a candidate for several offices over the years primarily as a Green Party candidate and earned respectable numbers for a third party. Now that he has switched to the Democratic party, he should prevail in this race.) 
  • Rep: Seth Howard*, Tom Walters (South County is a heavily Republican district and Seth Howard handily won the office the last time around. He has name recognition, and some detractors pointing out some business failings outside the legislature, but the campaign is strong and the name recognition should carry him.) 

House of Delegates, District 31A (Selecting 1)

  • Dem: Ned Carey*
  • Rep: Brooks Bennett*

House of Delegates, District 31B (Selecting 2)

  • Dem: Harry Freeman*, Karen Simpson*
  • Rep: Nic Kipke*, Brian Chisholm, John Leopold*, David Therrien (People say I am crazy on this pick. Leopold has served the Pasadena area VERY well as a Delegate and County Executive. He served his time from when he was convicted and is legally allowed to run.In a far-reaching interview, he explained the trial and what was not included and the response he is getting from voters. Was some of his behavior in office, shall we say less than professional? Absolutely, but as you look around, there are plenty of forgiven politicians. Kipke has done an admirable job in his role and will handily win. As for the number two slot, my money is on John Leopold.)

House of Delegates, District 32 (Selecting 3)

  • Dem: Derek Kent, Jenese Jones, Mike Rogers, Theodore Sophocleus (Deceased), J. Sandy Bartlett*, Mark Chang*, Patrick Armstrong*(With the death of Ted Sophocleus this race becomes very interesting, Ted was a shoe-in for one seat. Now, the establishment is encouraging voters to vote for him to “honor” his legacy because they do not like Mark Chang. This will put the selection of the third candidate in the hands of a committee not the people. I think voters see through this ruse and will look to the three democrats that have been actively campaigning for the seat–Mark Chang, Sandy Bartlett and Patrick Armstrong. Chang has been very solid on representing his constituents from day one including the time he spend in the County Executive’s office prior to running for elected office. A note on Armstrong…he was the recipient of an attack by the Michael Peroutka campaign when running for County Council four years ago. He was likely running in the number 4 spot here and the death of Ted Sophocleus gave him a considerable boost.)
  • Rep: Patty Ewing, Mark Bailey, Tim Walters(OK I get it is a heavily Democratic district, but with three seats open, the Republicans can’t come up with two more candidates?  Originally missed the other Republicans running. No prediction here.)

House of Delegates, District 33 (Selecting 3)

  • Dem: Heather Bagnall*, Pam Luby*, Tracie Hovermale*
  • Rep: Connor McCoy, Jerry Walker*, Mike Malone, Tony McConkey*, Sid Saab*, Stacie MacDonald, Tom Angelis (Very interesting race here. Mike Malone currently has the seat that was vacated by Cathy Vitale when she was appointed to the bench. However, he has not made a huge impression. Tony McConkey, despite everything thrown at him seems to be made of teflon and rises to the top unscathed. Sid Saab has done a very solid job, is well liked and will win again. Jerry Walker is a termed out County Councilman who went head to head with Steve Schuh many times. He has been the subject of some of the famed Lawrence Scott negative mailers similar to the ones that arguably harmed Mike Pantelides when he was running for Mayor. Jerry is all about constituent services and is not afraid to thwart the powers that be to represent them.The Maryland Crabs spoke with Jerryjust as he was launching his campaign and about the attack ads. A note on Connor McCoy–he is a student at AACC and needs to be watched. He’s engaged and going places. Maybe not this time, but keep an eye out for him.  Here’s a link to his interview.)


Circuit Court, District 5 for Anne Arundel County (Selecting 1, same names on both ballots)

  • Dem: Claudia Barber*, Rickey Nelson Jones, Annette DeCesaris, Nevin Young, Mark Crooks, Robert Burton, Kathleen Elmore
  • Rep: Claudia Barber, Rickey Nelson Jones, Annette DeCesaris, Nevin Young, Mark Crooks*, Robert Burton, Kathleen Elmore

(This is a strange one. The candidates are non-partisan, but are required to run. Mark Crooks is the current judge and was appointed by Governor Hogan. The law says after appointment, you need to run an election to hold the office for a full 15 year term.  These races are the most important because the winner is applying the laws for fifteen years! Claudia Barber has run before and was recently terminated from her position as a Washington DC Administrative Law Judge (she’s appealing it), Rickey Nelson Jones has also sought out this seat in an election before. These two are campaigning on a platform of diversity on the bench–they are both African American. Judging from signs across the county, Crooks and Barber are the most visible and Barber has the support of the spin off groups of the Women’s March. The top vote getter in each party will move onto the general election. Should it be the same person–game over. While there is said to be power with incumbency, Crooks is vulnerable. If turnout is light (as it looks to be) there is a chance that DeCesaris may take that top spot and even a chance that Barber might as well due to voters that are simply not understanding how the election works. Barber is listed at the top of the ballot and some may not realize that the candidates are unaffiliated.)

County Executive

  • Dem: Steuart Pittman*
  • Rep: Steve Schuh*

County Council District 1

  • Dem: Pete Smith*, Sarah Lacey (Pete has done a terrific job for District 1. He was initially appointed to the seat when Darryl Jones was sentenced to federal prison, was removed from the seat when Jones returned. Jones retained his seat for the remainder of his second term and Smith  won when he ran for his first full term in 2014. He is even headed, thoughtful, and in tune with his constituents. He also holds his own in karaoke at Mike’s on the South River (we are withholding that video for now)
  • Rep: Kimberly Burns*

County Council District 2

Dem: Allison Pickard*, Candy Fontz (Allison has been a voice in the community for years and despite the lack of elected offie, she does have the name recognition and the reputation to back it up.)

Rep: Tom Gardner*

County Council District 3

Dem:  Debbie Ritchie *

Rep: Nathan Volke*, Dana Smallwood (Nathan is the former chair of the AA Republican Central Committee and has the support of most republicans in the county. He has been actively campaigning and seeking input from constituents.)

County Council District 4

  • Dem: Andrew Pruski*
  • Rep: Torrey Snow*

(Note: This will be a VERY interesting race in November)

County Council District 5

  • Dem: Dawn Myers*
  • Rep: Michael Peroutka*, Amanda Fiedler (This is a weird race. Michael Peroutka is a polarizing figure who has found controversy nearly every step of the way–from the robo call against Patrick Armstrong to the League of the South to the support of Roy Moore to the voting against every budget because he disagrees with the concept of public schools. But, he will win. It is a heavily republican district. He has a lot of money to fund the campaign, and in talking to constituents…he is doing good by them. There are spin offs of the Women’s March in 2017 that have been protesting and demanding he step aside and they likely will be putting their weight behind Myers. I have spoken with other council members and staff (of both parties) who say that Peroutka is one of the most considerate, kind, and reasonable members of the council (despite 4 years of never returning emails or telephone calls). I think he takes it by a lot.)

County Council District 6

  • Dem: Scott MacMullan*, Lisa Rodvien (MacMullan has also been running a textbook campaign and has identified the various constituent groups he feels are necessary to win the election. His name recognition is greater than Rodvien as well.  Both are technically and equally qualified for the seat, but I think the long-game campaign may pay off for MacMullan. There is one glitch–teachers. The union has put their weight behind Rodvien and they are pissed off at Governor Hogan and County Executive Schuh. If the teachers come out in great numbers, this race could flip to Rodvien.)
  • Rep: Michael Christman*

County Council District 7

  • Dem: James Kitchin*
  • Rep: Jessica Haire, Jonathan Boniface*(OK, Haire entered this race pretty late in the game. There is some name recognition as she is the wife of the Maryland State Party Chairman Dirk Haire. However, Boniface is the hand-picked successor to Jerry Walker’s seat by Walker. Boniface has been accompanying Walker to events and Walker has been actively campaigning for him. Not terribly dissimilar to how Jared Littmann of Annapolis helped usher in Marc Rodriguez’s win for Alderman. As mentioned above, Walker is more beholden to the constituents than the party which places him in high regard with constituents. Walker’s endorsement of Boniface likely carries significant weight in South County, Crofton, and Davidsonville.)

Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney

  • Dem: Anne Colt Leitess*
  • Rep: Wes Adams*, Kathy Rogers (Wes Adams has been a magnet for criticism from day one. Some of it well deserved (yes, I’m talking about Lawrence Scott here), and some of it not–like this hit job in The Capital the day voting began. His opponent is painting the office as a corrupt, hostile work environment, yet her termination on Adams’ first day really does not give her the insight to make that determination. Rogers says that Adams is grandstanding on the opioid epidemic–and he is.  But this scourge is something not faced to this degree in Rogers time with the SAO. Fighting this will take an all-hand-on-deck approach and unconventional tactics. While Leitess will challenge Adams in the general election as a way to avenge her loss four years ago, I think that Rogers campaign comes off more as a bitter former employee trying to stick it to her boss. I have also been asked if there is some sort of agreement between Leitess and Rogers for moving forward if either woudl win the office in November. And considering that Rogers was a (presumably) loyal employee of Leitess prior to Adams, it is probably a fair question.)

Anne Arundel County Sheriff

  • Dem: James Williams*
  • Rep: Ron Bateman, Jim Fredericks*, Beth Smith, Damon Ostis (If voters are looking for change in the Sheriff’s office like they are looking for change in the legislature, Damon Ostis is their guy. He has a non-political background, technical skills and knowledge to run the office. The downside is that I do not think the voters are looking for THAT much change and he has no local law enforcement experience. Current Sheriff Ron Bateman has done a good job sheriffing. However, his flipping of parties (seemingly to garner favor of the ruling party), his well-publicized family troubles and an unflattering audit leaves him very vulnerable. Beth Smith, in a word, has been out of law enforcement for too long and will have a steep re-learning curve to come up to speed on managing the sheriff’s office. Jim Fredericks is a current County police officer who has had several management positions throughout his career. He is current on policing, is familiar with the operation of the sheriff’s department and the police department and wold likely be a strong advocate to have the two work more closely together.)

Anne Arundel County Clerk of the Circuit Court

  • Dem: Scott Poyer*
  • Rep: Doug Arnold*, Bonnie Shepke (Notwithstanding that there is virtually nothing online about Bonnie Shepke and her campaign, Doug Arnold will run away with this.  He is a long time employee on the Clerk of the Court and comes highly recommended by the even longer time Clerk of the Court Bob Duckworth. The Clerk’s office is the back-end of the courthouse that keeps the moving parts well oiled. In addition they perform weddings and passports. Arnold knows all of the inner workings and is perfectly suited to take over if he is successful in November.)

Register of Wills for Anne Arundel County

  • Dem: Joseph Janosky*
  • Rep: Lauren Parker*

Judge of the Orphan’s Court for Anne Arundel County (Selecting 3)

  • Dem:  Vickie Gipson*, Torrey Jacobsen*
  • Rep: Maureen Carr-York*, Carl Holland*, Nancy Phelps*, AlanRzepkowski*

NOTE: OK. I really have no idea what this office does, what qualifications are needed, and who is likely to win or lose. You are on your own here.

And speaking of being on your own…there is a race for Central Committee. Just pick a name. The folks that are running for it tend to be those testing the waters in the political game. There are no campaigns. No platforms. And to be honest, it is just a crap shoot as to who get’s elected.

And finally–what about the school board members?  Ah yes.  I will admit temporary defeat here. With kids that have matriculated out of AACPS (and all gainfully employed or doing fantastic in University so thank you AACPS for doing a good job), I am not that familiar with the school board candidates. This is the first year we can elect them instead of the convoluted method we used to use to choose them.  We are transitioning to a fully elected board over the next few elections and adding in candidates by district (coincide with County Council districts). Up this year are Districts 1, 4, 5 and 7. They are all  non-partisan and unaffiliated or third party candidates can vote in the primary for these candidates.

  • District 1: Candace Antwine, David Starr, Sidney Butcher
  • District 4: Donna Rober, Julie Hummer, Melissa Ellis
  • District 5: Dana Schallheim, Terry Gilleland, Uju Elliffe, Vincent Goldsmith
  • District 7: Laticia Hicks, Michelle Corkadel, Ray Leone

To be honest, I am not even sure how they determine who moves onto the general election (or if they do). But I will find out. And I will do some research and I will get back to you!

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