A new set of leaders will carry Harford County forward, with Barry Glassman and Richard Slutzky claiming easy victories in the races for county executive and county council president, respectively, in Tuesday’s general election, while Jeff Gahler defeated incumbent Sheriff Jesse Bane.
Gahler unseated Bane with more than 55 percent of the vote, a sharp turnaround from four years ago, when Bane defeated Gahler by just over 3,000 votes.
Gahler said a strong statewide Republican turnout may have played a role in securing a victory for him in his second try.
“It feels wonderful,” he said. “Seven years of my life put into this, between the two campaigns. It’s just an overwhelming.”
Glassman and Slutzky each faced only marginal challenges; Glassman won in a landslide, claiming nearly 75 percent of the vote, while Slutzky defeated Democrat Jim Thornton by a wide margin.
“Looks like the Republican lambs are running wild in Harford County tonight,” he remarked.
“I’ve prepared a lifetime for a dream of being Harford County Executive,” Glassman said, later adding, “It’s a long journey but I’ve made it back home.”
“Harford County voters sent a clear message tonight, they are ready for a new generation of leadership.”
The self-proclaimed “not-so-tall farm boy from Level” took to the stage of the Armory at 9:30 p.m., surveyed the crowd for his mother, and thanked his team and supporters before launching into a preview of what county residents can expect from his administration. Glassman said his administration will focus not on “30 minutes of the county telling you why you can’t do something, but 30 minutes of us telling how you can make it happen in Harford County.”
“We plan to have our transition moving in the morning, we plan to hit the ground running on Dec. 1, inauguration day,” he said.
In the County Council races, incumbent council member Dion Guthrie, a Democrat, faced a serious challenge from Republican Mike Perrone, who led Guthrie by several hundred votes at the close of election night.
The District F race saw Republican Curtis Beulah defeat Joseph Smith, a Democrat. As he watched other election results on a large screen at Glassman’s party at approximately 10 p.m., Beulah was enthusiastic but wasn’t yet ready to claim victory.
“All I can say is it feels good,” he said. “We both ran a clean campaign, hats off to Joe Smith.”
Even as he was congratulated by passers-by, Beulah remained cautious, reminiscing about watching his sizeable lead on primary election night dwindle.
Beulah later joined Patrick Vincenti for celebratory photos with the new county executive; Vincenti was likewise hesitant to claim victory.
“Tonight, I’m delighted and pleased at all the hard work by the volunteers on my campaign,” he said.
Joe Woods, who was unopposed for Council District B in both the primary and general elections, nonetheless hit the campaign trail hard and was surprised by what he saw.
“It was wild out there,” he said. “One of the most interesting things I saw this time that I hadn’t seen before was entire families out voting together.”
Woods called the results of the general election a show of displeasure with state and federal democrats, saying Republicans were a visible presence.
Asked about the probable new look of the county council as results continued to roll in Tuesday night, Woods expected little difference.
“I don’t think much will change because we all get along so well together,” he said.
Board of Education races saw Jansen Robinson claim the District A seat, Bob Frisch retain his District B seat, Nancy Reynolds win in District D, and Rachel Gauthier and Thomas Fitzpatrick hold leads in Districts E and F respectively.
Only the District C race remained too close to call by the end of election night; with 83.3 percent of precincts reporting, challenger Joseph Voskuhl held a 64-vote lead over incumbent Alysson Krchnavy, 6,262 to 6,198.