Incumbents in most Carroll towns face contested races next month, as five municipalities post ballots with numerous candidates.
Only the Union Bridge Town Council race and the New Windsor mayoral contest are predictable, barring unexpected write-in votes. Candidates for those offices are running unopposed.
All but Westminster's filing deadlines closed last week. Westminster candidates have until tomorrow to enter the mayoral or Common Council races. Mount Airy is the only one of Carroll's eight incorporated towns not holding elections this year.
Sykesville residents will vote May 1, followed by Taneytown on May 7, then Hampstead, New Windsor and Union Bridge on May 8. Westminster will go to the polls May 14 and Manchester on May 15.
In Sykesville, six candidates are running against four incumbent council members. Ted Campbell is the only challenger to Mayor Jonathan S. Herman, who is seeking a third term. Westminster has two mayoral candidates, but another might emerge before the filing deadline tomorrow. Westminster also has two council seats up for election.
New Windsor will see a new mayor because incumbent Jack A. Gullo Jr. is not seeking a third term, a decision that left only one mayoral candidate's name on the ballot: Samuel M. "Sam" Pierce. The retired medical supplies salesman lost to Gullo four years ago by 12 votes.
Pierce emphasizes better communication through a newsletter and e-mail, and increased involvement by residents and members of the Town Council.
Two seats on the New Windsor council are up for four-year terms. Incumbents Neal Roop and Rebecca Harman have filed, along with challengers Frazier Hollenbeck, Ed Palsgrove and William Geelhaar.
A wrinkle in New Windsor is the unfilled seat of former Councilman Paul Garver, who resigned in February, halfway through his term. The council will appoint a successor to complete the term.
In Sykesville, a strong sense of civic responsibility has drawn the most candidates in several years, candidates said.
"We literally used to have to advertise to get people to run," Herman said.
Council incumbents seeking four-year terms are Eugene Johnson, Jeannie Nichols and Debby Ellis. Russ Vreeland, who was appointed to fill a council vacancy last year, is running to finish the term's remaining two years.
The incumbents are running as a ticket, with Herman hoping that together they can win another term to finish several projects, most notably the redevelopment of the recently annexed Warfield Complex into a business and academic center and the revitalization of downtown.
"I have been involved in a lot of things, and I would like see what I have started happen," said council president Johnson, who is seeking a fourth term.
Among the challengers are two previous council members: Maxine Wooleyhand and Garth Adams. Also running are Frank Robert, Brian Beck, Connie Higgins and Kathleen Hider.
In Taneytown, 10 candidates are running for three seats, including incumbents James L. McCarron, Jacquelyn J. Boisvert and James A. Wieprecht. Other candidates are Donald E. Crawford Jr., William Robert Flickinger, Thomas J. Lequire, Charles E. Poole, Susan H. Reifsnider, Lewis F. Wood and Sharon K. Woodrum.
"It's going to be interesting," said Linda M. Hess, Taneytown city clerk and treasurer.
Tomorrow is the last day for Taneytown residents to register to vote.
In Hampstead, three councilmen have filed to keep their seats. Incumbents Vincent Corsaro, Haven Shoemaker Jr. and Wayne Thomas will run against Myron H. Diehl Jr. and C. Donald Warner.
Just up the road in Manchester, six candidates, including one incumbent, Daniel C. Riley, have filed for three council seats.
The other candidates are David M. Bott Sr., Edward Dale Wilder Jr., Julia Dawn Davidson, Paul M. Dattilio and Stephen M. Bankert.
The possibility of a husband-and-wife council team ended with the withdrawal of candidate Carrie Bankert, who noted a business obligation Tuesday evenings, which is when the council meets.
In her withdrawal letter, she said it might be unfair if both she and her husband were elected because it would "take two spots from other people who also have valuable knowledge and a strong voice that should be heard."
Union Bridge has three candidates for three expiring council terms. Two incumbents, Dawn Metcalf and Karen Kotarski, will be on the ballot along with Kathleen Smith.
Sun Staff writer Maria Blackburn contributed to this article.