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Star Dem 9/11/02:

Incumbents defeated in QA commissioners primary

September 10, 2002 
 
All three incumbent commissioners in Queen Anne's County were defeated in Tuesday's primary. 

In the Democratic primary for county commissioner, Richard E. Moser won the nomination for at large commissioner over two-term Commissioner George M. O'Donnell by a vote of 2,196 to 1,807, according to unofficial returns from the Queen Anne's County Election Board.

The two other incumbents, Republican John T. McQueeney Jr. and Democrat Marlene Davis, are each completing their first term as commissioner. Eric Wargotz got 2,316 votes to 1,728 votes for Davis to win the Democratic nomination for District 2 commissioner. Michael S. Koval defeated McQueeney by a vote of 2,629 to 1,458 for the Republican nomination for District 4 commissioner.

The other winners in the Democratic primary include: H. Joseph Gannon Jr., District 1; Gene M. Ransom III in District 3; and Al Helfenbein in District 4. Gannon beat Tom Wheat by a vote of 3,054 to 742. Ransom and Helfenbein won uncontested races.

The other winners in the Republican primary include: Benjamin F. Cassell for the at large seat; Joseph Cupani in District 1; Rodney "Nemo" Niedomanski in District 2; and Robert W. Foley in District 3.

A crowded field of 23 candidates running for commissioner has been narrowed to 11 candidates - five Republicans, five Democrats and one independent - for the Nov. 5 general election.

Voters will elect five county commissioners to four-year terms in November, with the new board starting in December.

The results of the other four Republican races were: at large commissioner, Cassell, 2809 votes; Richard A. Smith, 875; Robert H. Newberry, 446; District 1 commissioner, Cupani, 1,743 votes; Dan Shortall, 1,503; Robert McCormick, 683; John Lofland, 189; District 2 commissioner, Niedomanski, 1,665 votes; Stephen Hershey Jr., 1,321; Barb Pivec, 1,104; District 3 commissioner, Robert Foley, 2,494 votes; Peter Lee, 1,289.

"I'm looking very forward to the general election and representing the farming community," said Gannon, who faced Cupani for District 1 commissioner. Gannon said the voters spoke and they want someone to listen to them.

"I'm obviously pleased with the support I got today and I'm looking forward to the general election," said Cassell, adding he wants to serve all the citizens of the county.

"It was an interesting race," said Newberry. He said the at large race in November (between Moser and Cassell) should be interesting because both are representatives of the Kent Island Defense League, the citizens group that formed in opposition to the Four Seasons at Kent Island residential development.

Davis said she was disappointed, but "I understand the decision of the voters." She wished the candidates well in the general election.

"At this point, I'm not real comfortable claiming a victory until those absentee ballots are counted," Cupani said about his 240-vote lead over Shortall.

"It's awesome and I'm very overwhelmed with the turnout," said Niedomanski, who said he was proud to live in Queen Anne's County and thanked his supporters. "We made the first step and we're ready to tackle the next step," he said.

"I ran a very low key campaign. I didn't spend any money," said Foley. He said he was delighted with the win and hopes "everybody gets along after this is over."

McQueeney said he hopes the next set of commissioners will consider everyone in the county, "not just one issue." He said, "I'll give the PAC all the credit in the world. They did a good job."

Two political action committees - Save Our County PAC and the Queen Anne's County Responsible Growth PAC - both endorsed 8 of the 10 candidates who won in the primary. Foley was backed by Save Our County PAC and Helfenbein was backed by Responsible Growth PAC.
 
©The Star Democrat 2002  


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