Anne's: Voters boot incumbents
By MARGOT MOHSBERG, Staff Writer
Sending a powerful anti-growth message, Queen Anne's County voters, ousted all three incumbents in the Board of County Commissioners' primary races last night.
With the expansion from three to five board members this year, it means that every candidate who wins in the Nov. 5 general election will be new to the job.
"It's the closest thing to a legal political revolution that I've ever seen," said Winn Krozack, a Chester resident who campaigned tirelessly for candidates who want tighter control of growth.
Commissioner Marlene Davis, who lost the District 2 seat in Centreville and Queenstown to Democrat Eric Wargotz, said she heard the message.
During her campaign, she tried to tell the voters how the board has tried to control growth with a moratorium and laws that force developers to pay to offset the impact their projects have on the county's infrastructure.
"They voters came out and they spoke," she said. "Obviously, I'm very disappointed, but I'm going to work very hard to make sure the right people get in for the general election."
Voters in the Democratic and Republican primaries selected one candidate from each of the four districts and one for the at-large seat to move on to the general election. The winner of the at-large seat will serve as president of the board for the first year of the four-year term.
Rick Moser, who bested two-term Commissioner George O'Donnell for the Democratic nomination to the at-large seat, is among the four winners who are known activists against uncontrolled growth.
"There is definitely a majority of the people who don't like what's currently going on in county government," said Mr. Moser, who won 54 percent of the vote.
Mr. O'Donnell could not be reached for comment.
Mike Koval, who like Mr. Moser put out very few campaign signs, solidly defeated incumbent John McQueeney for the District 4 Republican nomination, which represents southern Kent Island.
Mr. Moser and Mr. Koval are well known as the president and vice president of the Kent Island Defense League, a residents group that has waged a public fight to stop the development of the 1,350-home Four Seasons project.
Both men said the voters feel much like they do -- fed up and desperate for someone else -- anyone else -- to take over.
"The citizens gave the county a message," said Mr. Koval, who garnered 64 percent of the vote. "We told them, `If you don't want to the county to look like the Western Shore, vote for us."
Ben Cassell, former treasurer of the Defense League, beat Robert Newberry and Richard Smith for the GOP nomination for the at-large seat.
Republican Robert Foley, a candidate who left the Kent Island Defense League because he did not think the group was outspoken enough, beat Peter Lee, a member of the county's Planning Commission, with more than 65 percent of the vote.
However, candidates didn't have to be a member of the Kent Island Defense League to come out on top.
Democrat Joseph Gannon, who said he wants to improve the commissioners' communication with residents, communication beat Tom Wheat, a Sudlersville town commissioner, for the District 1 seat, which represents north county, by a landslide, capturing more than 80 percent of the votes.
Joseph Cupani, running on the Republican ticket for District 1, beat John "Squeakie" Lofland, Robert McCormick and Daniel Shortall with more than 42 percent of the vote.
And Rodney "Nemo" Neidomanski, a Republican running for District 2 beat, beat Stephen Hershey and Barb Pivec.
Democrats Alvin Helfenbein and Gene Ransom were unopposed in the races for Districts 4 and 3, respectively.
More than 44 percent of registered voters in the county cast ballots yesterday, a significant increase from the 32 percent who voted in the primary four years ago.
Mr. Cassell said he's excited to be part of the county's changing political tide.
"I think the county clearly wants to go in another direction," he said. "And I think there's more issues going on than just growth. People want open government and trust, about growth."
September 11, 2002, The Capital,
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