Mathias on re-election loss: ‘I’m not bitter’

State Sen. Jim Mathias and Gov. Larry Hogan have had a complicated relationship during the governor’s first four years in office. While the pair always seem friendly together, Hogan’s longtime loyalty to Mary Beth Carozza earned his endorsement.

At midweek, a few days after losing his Maryland Senate seat to challenger Mary Beth Carozza, state Sen. Jim Mathias was on his way to a meeting.

Typically upbeat, and with a gentle reminder that he’s still in office until January, Mathias said he has a legislative agenda “that I will move forward and now I have to figure out who I’m going to work with in that regard.”

For now, his thoughts were leaning toward spending the holidays with friends and family and remaining grateful for the confidence and trust of constituents.

After the election, Carozza said she would spend time with her family and rest from the hectic campaign schedule. She couldn’t be reached at midweek.

The win for the 57-year-old Republican was the result of her governor-endorsed, hard-hitting campaign against Mathias, a 67-year-old widower.

Certainly Gov. Larry Hogan’s support helped her succeed, his popularity across party lines, endorsing her while slamming Mathias on TV commercials as a liberal who repeatedly “votes with the bad guys.”

“I understand the people spoke and I clearly abide by that,” Mathias said.

“I’m not bitter over it. I clearly wish it had a different outcome. That’s what we worked toward, but this is a trusteeship for the people and I understand that.

“It was bigger than us this time. We had a lot of unfortunate partisanship. We had a governor who demonized me as a liberal, saying I voted with the bad guys.

“If you want to do the push-ups and you want to get in the ring and take your best shot, that’s fine but don’t go into the ring and put a brick in your glove when the other person is truly fighting fair,” he said.

Soon after Election Day, Mathias posted a video on Facebook thanking constituents in District 38 for their support and urging them to stay in touch.

“I’m not hard to find,” he said, standing in front of one of the many bodies of water that make the Eastern Shore so inviting.

“Your kind notes and messages since Election Day touch my heart and soul as I continue to realize how lucky I am to call the Eastern Shore and Maryland home for my family and I,” he said.

The post drew hundreds of likes, vows of support and comments such as, “You’re a good guy.”

But now Marylanders in the lower three counties will be watching Carozza as she leaves her District 38C Maryland delegate seat to Republican Wayne Hartman, an Ocean City Councilman.

Both Hartman and incumbent Delegate Carl Anderton, also a Republican, representing District 38B, ran unopposed.

As senator, Carozza, hard-working and characterized by Anderton as a highly intelligent woman with a deep understanding of government and policy, will be called upon to illustrate how she tackles problems.

The win was close, with Carozza taking the lead with 52 percent, garnering 24,370 votes to Mathias’ 21,530.

Following the campaign, thank you sashes began appearing on her campaign signs throughout the district as promises made since she announced she would run for senator last November repeated in supporters’ memories.

“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 promised, naming the state’s growing heroin and opioid crises as one of them.

“My focus has been a comprehensive one, focused on prevention, education, treatment, recovery and law enforcement,” she said.

During her campaign she repeatedly pointed out Mathias’ differences of opinion with Hogan and emphasized she approaches from another, better angle.

Still, she told the Salisbury Independent, it was strictly political, nothing personal against Mathias, who attends her church in Ocean City.

“I’m so humbled and grateful to be the next State Senator for District 38. Thank you for all your support!” Carozza posted on Facebook soon after being declared the winner late in the evening on Election Day.

That weekend, she wished a happy 243rd birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps and said she is proud to be a daughter of a Marine.

On her Facebook page is a letter written by her mother, Mary Pat Carozza, brimming with assurances her daughter “believes in the goodness and unique potential of each person.”

“Mary Beth is real. She is genuine and she cares deeply about every individual person. I can tell you sincerely that Mary Beth will always serve you with humility, enthusiasm, honesty and integrity,” Mrs. Carozza wrote.

Carozza campaigned for fiscal responsibility and tax relief and chided Mathias for voting for former Gov. Martin O’Malley budgets. He defended his votes saying much good came from those budgets, including funding for Salisbury University, Wor-Wic Community College, the Shorebirds stadium and dualization of Route 113.

Carozza complained Mathias did not support Hogan’s vetoes and said he wanted to give school construction oversight to “a board of bureaucrats, a board of members of state agencies, who are not elected officials, so they are not being held accountable.”

She took credit for supporting Hogan “when he needed us to stand for lower utility bills for hard-working Marylanders, for transparency in the school funding process and redistricting reform.”

“My opponent stood against the governor on all of those issues,” she said.

Other areas of importance she has focused on include environment, economy, education, public safety and jobs.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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