Amid the excitement last Tuesday night concerning the tight Republican sheriff race and the not-so-tight county executive and county council races, nearly lost in the shuffle was the upset underway in the Democratic District 34A delegation race.
Marla Posey-Moss, a high school Spanish teacher and Aberdeen resident – who ran an unspectacular campaign for the same delegation seat in 2006 and finished in the middle of the pack – was surging ahead in the polls and threatening Democratic incumbent Dels. Mary-Dulany James and B. Dan Riley.
In this year’s three-way race for two Democratic nominations, Posey-Moss came almost out of nowhere to finish election night ahead of Riley and within 500 votes of James.
Posey-Moss led Riley by 43 votes on election night – a margin of difference which did not change after the first count of absentee ballots last Thursday. Pending the final canvass of absentee and provisional ballots on Wednesday, Posey-Moss is prepared to take her grass-roots campaign onward to the General Election in November.
“I am looking forward to a favorable outcome. I believe the candidates in my race worked hard to get the voters attention and I took no voter for granted. However, signs don’t win campaigns, people do. My qualifications are evident, I am ready and eager to serve people and assist them in their needs. I tell everyone not to underestimate the power of grass roots campaigning and go into communities where votes are waiting for request. In my favor, however, for every absentee ballot mailed, I sent the voter a campaign brochure,” Posey-Moss said in an interview last week.
God, the State Department of Business and Economic Development, and Everything in Between
“I believe my success is attributable to several factors. First, my support network of God, family, friends, and volunteers were the most important factors that helped me make it this far. Name recognition was strong among my supporters in 2006 and I targeted new voters. Another crucial aspect is that I expressed my being a proud Progressive Democrat in a district that has nearly a 2:1 Democrat to Republican ratio. Additionally, I outreached to all people everywhere I went because I understand how 6 degrees of separation works. The platform is far-reaching and is more so about the people rather than about the party. Furthermore, my experience having worked in legislative affairs while at the State Department of Business and Economic Development and my educational training in economics and public policy and management gives my run the credibility it needs to be a viable candidate. Moreover, I have been visible and accessible in both Harford and Cecil Counties. Lastly, I am simply an honest person with a positive attitude and personality,” Posey-Moss said.
Posey-Moss the Educator, Advocate, and Leader
“Since the very beginning of the campaign, my message continues to promote keeping the populous informed, saving consumers and businesses money, securing health care for women and families and strengthening public safety. The theme of the campaign to Educate, Advocate, and Lead constantly resonated with voters and means that my goal is to educate my constituency, advocate on their behalf and lead them with strong legislative leadership. My network of volunteers as well as myself was aggressive in marketing the campaign. I was consistent in my genuine approach to people regardless if I knew they lived in my district because the reality is, word travels about something good. I simply listened to people when I asked them about their concerns and about the issues that affect their lives. And, it is clear in my campaign literature that I believe in upholding our constitutional and legal rights,” Posey-Moss said.
Sticking to Her Grassroots
“I am very humbled by the outcome because this was not an easy run. I didn’t target either of my Democratic comrades, I just pursued the position. Yet, I am still disappointed about the turnout. Nonetheless, to whom much is given, much is expected. I am not perfect but I will do my best to meet expectations. I am running for service during a time when people are increasingly impatient and they allow fear and ignorance to overcome sound and reasonable judgment. I am grateful to those who voted for me because they clearly took my candidacy seriously and thus, no one should ever be underestimated because one never knows who is quietly being supported,” Posey-Moss said.
Riley Shows Honor in Defeat
Riley spent most of the day last Thursday at the Board of Elections Office, hoping to pick up additional votes and gain ground on Posey-Moss. At the end of the day, however, the margin remained the same after each candidate picked up another 35 votes.
A few more absentee and provisional votes remain to be counted this Wednesday, but they are unlikely to cause any change in the results. Riley recognizes this, but said he owes it to his constituents and supporters to stick with the campaign until the last of the votes have been counted.
“Doubt if there will be any change in the outcome. For my supporters, I will not concede until it is officially over,” Riley said last week.
Riley credits Posey-Moss for rallying her supporters out to the polls on Election Day, something many candidates across the state were unable to do. As a “conservative/blue dog Democrat” Riley said he traditionally fares well in the District 34A General Election, but he fears Posey-Moss will have a difficult time emerging as one of the top two vote-getters among James and Republicans Patrick McGrady and Glen Glass.
“This consensus is shared by many of my Republican friends, that they now have a very good chance of winning my seat,” Riley added.
Nevertheless, Riley, who has had an on-again, off-again relationship with elected office (won in 1998, lost in 2002, won in 2006, lost in 2010), maintains a philosophic view on the matter.
“There are only two outcomes in an election. You win or your opponent wins. This loss is a tough one, but I will survive. I did the best I could do for my constituents and it was an honor being their delegate,” he said.