Republicans maintained their dominance in the Baltimore suburbs of Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Harford counties according to Tuesday's election results, while Democrats stayed firmly in control in Howard County.
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold won a second term with 50.6 percent of the vote and Harford's David R. Craig, also a Republican incumbent, was re-elected easily. In Carroll, Republicans took all the seats on an expanded five-member county commission. Meanwhile, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, a Democrat, was easily re-elected to a second four-year term with a 62 percent margin.
Newly elected officials were preparing for their roles in running local governments.
Haven Shoemaker, the Hampstead mayor who will become one of the new Carroll County commissioners, said, "We will have to reach out to each other as colleagues and forge consensuses in order to get anything done."
The Republican victories in Baltimore's outlying suburbs continue a movement that has been building for years.
"Harford has been trending Republican for 20 years," drawing on its rural conservative roots and people moving from eastern Baltimore County, said Donald F. Norris, director of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Anne Arundel's waterfront tends to attract wealthier people and military retirees, as well as northern county residents who vote like those in conservative parts of Baltimore County.
"Carroll County is and always has been Republican," Norris added, similar to some parts of western Howard.
In Anne Arundel County, two opponents — Democrat Joanna L. Conti and Green Party candidate Michael Shay — challenged Leopold, who spent two decades in the House of Delegates prior to becoming county executive in 2006. With 98.5 percent of districts reporting, Leopold led 50.6 percent to 43.8 percent over Conti with all but absentee votes counted.
"I very much appreciate the continued confidence and support of the citizens of the county," said Leopold. "We hope to continue our record of fiscal discipline in difficult economic times while making strategic, targeted investments in the county's future."
He also said that Tuesday's referendum reaffirming the location of a slots parlor at Arundel Mills Mall would bring jobs and revenue to the county.
Conti said, "Of course I'm disappointed in the way it turned it out, but I have no regrets. I think we ran a strong campaign and I spent 14 months getting the issues out that I thought were important to the county."
Leopold is generally popular for his commitment to constituent service and for keeping his pledge not to raise property or income taxes. But he has been dogged in recent months by allegations that he sexually harassed a former county employee.
Republicans will have a 4-3 advantage on the county council, which will have five new members. Democrats Daryl Jones, who represents District 1, and Jamie Benoit, who represents District 4, the only current members of the council on the ballot, won new terms in their heavily Democratic districts against Republicans John E. Moran and Charlotte K. Weinstein. The rest of the council seats — vacated through term limits and primary losses — will have new occupants.
In District 2, Republican John Grasso beat Democrat Dan Klosterman and in District 3 Republican Derek Fink won over Democrat Charlie Parks. District 5 Republican Rich Ladd defeated Democrat Paul Rudolph and District 7 Republican Jerry Walker beat Democrat Torrey Jacobsen. In District 6 Democrat Chris Trumbauer beat Republican Doug Burkhardt.
County Executive Ulman, a Democrat had more than 62 percent of the vote against Republican Trent Kittleman, and all five county council incumbents — four Democrats and one Republican — won new terms.
"We stepped out and we led the way on the environment and we led the way on health care. … Once again we showed that Howard County will come together and we will solve our challenges even in tough times," Ulman said in his victory speech.
After the results were clear, Kittleman said, "I wish we had been more successful, but I felt we ran a good race."
"I think the most important thing is that the movement of the people that got involved this year for the first time is really being felt across this country, even if Maryland is a little slow on the uptake," she told her supporters at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville. "Regardless of what happens, I am personally thankful for getting the opportunity to meet everyone."
Democrats seemed immune to local Republican efforts to catch the wave that swept the GOP to victory in many places nationally.