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Hart prevails in Calvert's District One race

It appears likely that Calvert County will have at least two new commissioners this December. The low voter turnout predicted throughout Maryland, Calvert County included, yielded a few provocative but no shocking results.

The three-way race for the Republican county commissioner candidate in the First Election District had attracted a lot of attention. When the tallies from 23 voter precincts and early voting were compiled, political newcomer Mike Hart emerged as the top-vote getter with 2,127 or 40.3 percent of the vote. Three-term incumbent Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark garnered 1,787 votes—33.86 percent—to finish second while incumbent Calvert County Board of Education (BOE) Member Joe Chenelly had 1,364 votes—25.84 percent.

Hart’s 340-vote lead over Clark would appear secure, given there are 249 absentee ballots to count along with an undetermined number of provisional ballots. However, Hart was not ready to proclaim himself the winner.

“Jerry was ‘class act’ during this whole thing,” said Hart, who nervously watched the votes come in with his wife Carolyn at the Calvert County Election Board Office.

“You can’t win ‘em all,” said Clark, when reached at home by telephone. Clark’s initial foray into elective politics in the 2002 county commissioners’ race included razor-thin wins in the Republican Primary and General Election. “I’ve had 12 good years. Calvert County has been good to my family and me.”

Clark admitted he had some things working against him such as his unabashed support for the controversial Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Export Project, his support of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s Reliability project, which included the installation of tall utility poles throughout the First Election District; and a negative campaign that was waged by an anonymous perpetrator or perpetrators who put up signs disparaging his (Clark’s) campaign and vandalized his signs.

The GOP’s race for the two at-large seats had four candidates and the top two vote-getters were incumbent commissioner Steve Weems—with 2,681 votes, nearly 30 percent—and retired assistant sheriff Tom Hejl, who held a 264-vote lead over Linda Kelley, a former county commissioner. First-time candidate Dave Gatton garnered 1,879 votes to finish fourth.

Current Commissioners’ President Pat Nutter was an easy winner in the Second Election District, receiving nearly 73 percent of the vote to opponent Benjamin Krause’s 1,363.

A huge crowd packed into to Calvert GOP headquarters Tuesday evening, June 24 to watch the returns. Halfway through the tallies, Calvert Republican Central Committee Chair Ella Ennis asked for quiet to thank the many volunteers who had worked the polls during the day. She offered the floo

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