Carl Anderton ‘overwhelmed’ by voters’ support

More than a week after the election, Maryland Delegate-elect Carl Anderton is still searching for descriptors to express his gratitude.

“I am just overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out to vote for me. I’ll never be able to repay them enough. Never. And the folks that didn’t vote for me, that gives me motivation to work hard for them,” Anderton said.

A Republican representing District 38B, he garnered 53 percent of the vote, both statewide and in Wicomico County, soundly defeating longtime Delegate Norman Conway, who is well-respected and deeply entrenched in Annapolis for 28 years.

Currently mayor of Delmar, and previously a council member, Anderton, president of the Maryland Municipal League, took a chance challenging Conway.

“I am blessed, absolutely blessed to be able to do this,” Anderton said.

“It’s an incredible opportunity. I won’t waste it. I can’t. Folks trust me with their vote and I don’t want to let them down,” he said.

At first, Conway, a 72-year-old Salisbury native and chairman of the Appropriations Committee, was disappointed that he lost.

“Then I started thinking, golly day, I had 28 years up there and I can go anywhere in the state and point out something I was involved in that benefitted the state. I think that’s pretty good,” he said.

Anderton, the 41-year-old father of two, described election night as dreamlike.

“It was kind of surreal. It was weird because you could just feel it. I’ve never experienced anything like that, so it was like I was just overcome. I couldn’t believe I actually had the opportunity to represent us in Annapolis. It’s the most humbling feeling I ever had in my life,” Anderton said.

The Maryland General Assembly 2015 session begins Jan. 14.

Conway, a career educator who began his political career in 1970, when he was elected to the State Central Committee, said he posted congratulations on Anderton’s Facebook page.

The new delegate will be sworn in, in January and be in Annapolis for orientation Dec. 2 and 3.

“There are some things I want to see happen for us,” Anderton said.

“We need to get our road money back. We need to get taxes in line so we’re attractive to employers. We need to get taxes in line so we can survive and have a quality of life. We have to do something about the foreclosure crisis so people can enjoy the homes they worked so hard to have,” he said.

He praised voters’ choice of Larry Hogan as governor.

“It’s really good to hear somebody like him talk to you and they’re saying the same thing you’re saying. He knows the job market is wrong and he knows we’re being over-regulated. It’s good to finally have somebody in Annapolis saying that,” he said.

He’s convinced voters want a change, as he did when he decided to run for office.

“I was fed up. Being mayor of Delmar and president of the Maryland Municipal League, I had nobody I could contact in Maryland,” he said. He listed local officials who can count on his accessibility, from Bob Culver, the newly elected county executive, to Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton to Karen Wells, who will take over as mayor of Delmar.

At home in Salisbury, Conway is looking forward to retirement.

“I had good years in the Maryland House. I made a lot of friends. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of important pieces of legislative that have affected the state and affected our county and the rural areas of Md.,” he said.

“I think I got caught up in a wave. All five of the rural Democrats lost their seats — in Cecil County, St. Mary’s, Washington County, Allegheny County and here. There was a Republican surge that occurred and not only here but across the nation,” Conway said.

“But I can look at a lot of accomplishments on the Lower Shore, things we were able to do, projects during a very tough time and jobs for a lot of people,” he said.

Being chairman of the appropriations committee  was “quite an honor,” he added.

“I never thought I would have that opportunity, but lo and behold, I did and I’ve been very proud to have served there, very proud to have worked with speaker Busch and President Miller in the Senate. I had a good relationships with the Senate membership as well as the House. I feel good about what I’ve accomplished. I hope those who follow me are able to be as successful,” he said.

The low point of the campaign was negative advertising, mailed and broadcast on TV, some characterizing Conway as a burglar who couldn’t  be trusted.

“I resent strongly that kind of campaign. I‘ve never done it. I wouldn’t do it. If that’s what you have to do to get elected then I don’t need to be in that realm,” he said.

He has no further political aspirations, or plans to teach government or politics at the college level.

“No. I was involved with education 40 years,” he said.

“I want to get up when I want to get up and take my time drinking my coffee.”

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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