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Oct. 28, 2010
Garrett County’s 16 polling places will open at 7 a.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 2, and remain open until 8 p.m. for voters to cast ballots for their favorite candidates in the 2010 gubernatorial general election.
Competitive local races include two of three county commissioner seats, state delegate, county sheriff, one of three seats on the board of education, and judges of the orphans’ court.
The most unusual race for a county commissioner seat is that of District III, which was vacated just last week upon the death of incumbent Denny Glotfelty. The only names that will appear on next Tuesday’s ballot will be those of Glotfelty and Democrat challenger Bill Welch. However, soon after the September primary, Democrat George Falter filed as a write-in candidate, and then just since the death of Glotfelty last week, Bob Gatto also filed as a write-in candidate. Gatto was the second-place finisher to Glotfelty in the primary, which featured four candidates.
Then on Tuesday of this week, Republican Tim Thomas, who finished last in the four-candidate primary, also filed as a write-in candidate,
The other competitive race for county commissioner is in District I, where Republican Gregan Crawford is facing Democrat Eric Robison. Crawford defeated long-time incumbent Ernie Gregg in the primary.
Republican Jim Raley, who defeated incumbent Fred Holliday, is unopposed for county commissioner in District II.
The race for state delegate pits Republican incumbent Wendell Beitzel against Democrat James “Smokey” Stanton, while the candidates for sheriff are Republican Robert Corley and Democrat Skyler Hebden.
In the District III board of education race (non-partisan), incumbent Rodney Durst is being challenged by Rodney Reckert, while incumbents Donald Forrester (District I) and Tom Carr (District II) are unchallenged.
Vying for seats for the judges of the orphans’ court are incumbent Republicans Clifford DeWitt, James Margroff, and Wayne Wilt, and Democrat challenger Everett DeBerry, three of whom will be elected.
County officials running unopposed are clerk of the circuit court Sondra Buckel, state’s attorney Lisa Thayer Welch, and register of wills Rita Watson, all Republicans.
Republican state senator George Edwards is also alone on the ballot. Other state offices to be determined are governor/lt. governor, comptroller, and attorney general. Federal races include those of congressional District 6, currently held by Republican Roscoe Bartlett, and U.S. Senate, held by Democrat Barbara Mikulski. Each are facing several challengers.
Upon the death of Garrett County commissioner Denny Glotfelty last week, the Republican Central Committee had only a matter of hours to decide whether or not to select a nominee for that position. Doing so would have automatically granted that candidate all votes cast for the late Glotfelty.
A statement released Thursday evening by Brandon Butler, chairman of the committee, said that the committee members decided that they did not have enough time to select a candidate.
“Hastily making such a decision without thoughtful deliberation would not honor Denny’s legacy,” Butler said. “Therefore, it is our request that you honor Denny’s legacy by voting for him one more time…. By doing so, it will give us, your fellow Republicans, the opportunity to interview and select just the right candidate to fill the big shoes Denny left behind.”
If Glotfelty wins in Tuesday’s election, the central committee will then make one or more recommendations and then submit the list to the governor, who will then select the person to fill the commissioner seat.
The decision to not name a candidate was made by the outgoing members of the committee, as new members elected in the September primary have not yet been sworn in and were therefore ineligible to participate in that decision.
The inaction by the committee drew immediate criticism from a number of persons, including some of the new committee members, who believed that Bob Gatto, the second-place fin-isher in the primary, should have been named.
Former Garrett County commissioner Brenda Butscher, one of the newly elected committee members, contacted The Republican and said that the majority of the new members were indeed behind naming Gatto, and said that she had done a lot of “leg-work” even prior to Glotfelty’s death to try to have Gatto selected.
“At least three of the new committee members believed that because the current members knew of the seriousness of Denny’s illness well before his death, they had plenty of time to have someone else lined up in the event of his death before the election,” Butscher said. “Unfortun-ately, we new members were not legally allowed to have a say since we have not yet been sworn in.”
Even Bill Welch, the Democrat challenger in the race who says he has been a friend of Glotfelty’s for many years, criticized the inaction by the committee.
“Bob Gatto has spent a tremendous amount of time and money in this campaign, and he has earned this opportunity,” Welch said. “I would rather lose the election than to see the Republican Central Committee get away with this.”
In his campaign advertising, Welch accuses the committee of purposely not selecting a candidate so that they can choose their own candidate, whom he describes as “a hand-picked partisan that power brokers can control.” He adds that the snubbing of Gatto by the committee “shows contempt for local feelings.”
The immediate family members of Glotfelty also announced publicly that the now deceased commissioner requested that, in the event of his death, Gatto should take his place on the ballot.
“That was one of Dad’s last requests,” Amy Beeman said on Monday.
The support for Gatto prompted another statement from Butler released Tuesday that now encourages voters to support Gatto’s write-in effort.
“After talking with the family, both the current and the newly elected committees have decided to back the write-in candidacy of Mr. Bob Gatto…. We are honoring the wishes of the Glotfelty family in this time of tremendous loss for us all,” the statement read, and then included directions for how one casts a write-in ballot.
Those directions are as follows:
•Touch the box to the left of the word “WRITE-IN” in the contest for which you wish to cast a write-in vote.
•Using the electronic keyboard, enter the candidate’s name, last name first. Then press RECORD WRITE-IN to cast your vote. Your vote will not be counted un-less the record button is pushed.
•Any abbreviation, misspelling, or minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate shall be disregarded in determining the validity of the write-in vote as long as the intended candidate can be determined. Writing the last name only will constitute a valid vote, unless there is more than one candidate with the same last name.
•Candidates may give out cards containing a diagram and instructions, including how to spell the candidate’s name.
Read the full article here.