Delegate Carozza unseats Sen. Jim Mathias

In a tight race, Maryland Delegate Mary Beth Carozza, a Republican, unseated incumbent Democratic Sen. Jim Mathias by a slim margin both statewide and locally.

In the three Lower counties, the 57-year-old Ocean City resident won with 53 percent or 24,370 votes. Mathias received 47 percent with 21,530 votes.

In Wicomico County, Carozza received 8,488 votes and Mathias got 7,925.

Carozza ran a hard-hitting campaign against the 67-year-old Mathias, a widow who also lives in the resort.

On her TV ads, Gov. Larry Hogan was shown chiding Mathias for regularly voting against him and “for the bad guys,” while Carozza stood by his side.

“I want to thank God first for the opportunity to serve the public and I want to thank my entire team, starting with my family and the numerous volunteers that we have had even before I officially announced,” Carozza said, while claiming victory at the Ocean City Convention Center, where she waited for election results.

“I will be a strong voice for the entire district and I am more representative of the people of District 38. I also will be a strong partner with Gov. Hogan in the State Senate working on our Shore priorities,” she said.

“I want to highlight that this has been a grassroots campaign of all ages, from children walking in parades with us to students going door to door with us, to Republican women and other volunteers working events, to my sign warriors including my dad.

“When I say a campaign of all ages, that includes my parents, who are 80 years old, my mom, who made the Carozza pins we all wore, to my dad, who has gone door to door to other senior volunteers,” she said.

During the day Tuesday, working with her two sisters and 80-year-old parents, Carozza first visited the Ocean City Convention Center, then traveled to Ocean City Elementary School, where she and her siblings were once students.

Last November, at the school, she announced she would run for senator

Also Tuesday, she went to the Ocean Pines Library, Ocean Pines Community Center and spots in Wicomico and Somerset counties, speaking to supporters and thanking them for their votes.

From Tall Tales, where he gathered with supporters to await results, Mathias congratulated Carozza

Among the greatest challenges Maryland lawmakers, including Carozza and Mathias, faced was getting under control the heroin and opioid crises that is killing thousands.

Numbers continue to rise, with about 5 percent of the 50,000 casualties nationwide in Maryland.

Mathias, earlier this year voted for Senate Bill 288 authorizing the establishment of an Overdose and Infectious Disease Prevention Supervised Drug Consumption Facility Program “to provide a place for the consumption of pre-obtained drugs, provide sterile needles, administer first aid as needed, and provide certain other services; requiring the Maryland Department of Health, in consultation with the local health department, to make a certain determination on a certain application based on certain criteria and within a certain period of time; etc.”

He later withdrew it and has continued to focus on the struggle addicts endure and importance of stopping the increasing number of deaths from overdoses, but Carozza pointed to his support of the bill as one of the great contrasts between them.

“My focus has been working on the local heroin opioid intervention team in Worcester and Wicomico counties and now also with Somerset County. My focus has been a comprehensive one, focused on prevention, education, treatment, recovery and law enforcement.

“By attending local meetings, I am in position of hearing what consensus is on the local level about how they think is the best way to move forward,” she told the Salisbury Independent.

Carozza campaigned for fiscal responsibility and tax relief, disagreeing with Mathias for voting for former Gov. Martin O’Malley budgets.

Defending the votes, Mathias said much good came from those budgets, including funding for Salisbury University, Wor-Wic Community College, the Shorebirds stadium and dualization of Route 113.

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