Wicomico solidly backs Republican candidates

Following a volatile presidential campaign, Wicomico County voters chose Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, although Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was the projected winner statewide, with 61 percent of the vote.

In Wicomico, Trump received 20,800 votes to Clinton’s 16,300, with all precincts reporting.

Trump also won in nearby Worcester, Somerset and Dorchester counties.

At press time, national victory was leaning toward Clinton, following a campaign pockmarked by the candidates regularly at odds and casting aspersions in debates and speeches.

Trump, of New York, and to a lesser degree running mate Mike Pence of Indiana, repeatedly referred to Clinton as “Crooked Hilary,” and accused her of lying.

Clinton, of New York, and running mate Tim Kaine of Virginia, likewise attacked him, questioning his ability and temperament to serve in the White House.

Other presidential candidates were Libertarians Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts and Green Party candidates Jill Stein of Massachusetts and Ajamu Baraka of Georgia.

Voter turnout

Before polls closed Tuesday, Anthony Gutierrez, director of the Wicomico County Board of Elections, said he expected the total voter turnout in Wicomico County to far surpass the 44 percent that voted in the April primary.

By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, 31.5 percent had voted. Coupled with absentee and early voting, turnout was about 54 percent by around 6 p.m. and Gutierrez said he expected a rush of voters Tuesday evening.

Statistics released during the primary indicated there are 47,265 registered voters in the county, with 54 percent Democratic and 45 Republican.

No major problems were reported at local polls Tuesday, although one voter in the Pemberton area fed a folded ballot into a scanner, causing it to jam.

“It took them 15 or 20 minutes to fix it but the line was so long it seemed like an eternity,” Gutierrez said.

There was also a report of a couple arguing when they went to vote Delmarva Evangelistic Church on Gordy Road, but it was quickly settled.

U.S. Senate

Polls were only closed 25 minutes when U.S. Senate candidate Chris Van Hollen was declared the winner statewide, to succeed retiring senior Sen. Barbara Mikulski, although challenger Kathy Szelia won in Wicomico, with 20,700 or 54 percent.

Locally, Van Hollen received 16,700 or 43 percent.

Statewide, Van Hollen received 62 percent of the vote, or 1.3 million votes, to Szelia’s 34 percent, or 715,000 votes

Van Hollen, 57, was first elected to the House in 2002 and announced his intent to run for Senate in March 2015.

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, where his father worked as a foreign service officer, he graduated from Swarthmore College, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Georgetown Law School.

He worked as an attorney.

In April’s primary, he defeated Rep. Donna Edwards.

Also on the ballot for U.S. Senator was Margaret Flowers of the Green Party, who received 3 percent of the vote.

House of Representatives

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Andy Harris, a Republican representing District 1, easily won a fourth term against Democratic challengers Joe Werner and Libertarian Matt Beers.

In Wicomico, he received 59 percent of the vote, or 22,800 votes. Statewide, he received 67 percent of the vote.

In Wicomico, Werner got about 37 percent, or 14,400 votes. Statewide, he received 28 percent.

There was local interest in this race early on, after former Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton, a Democrat, announced in January he would run for Congress.

“There is an urgent need for thoughtful, reasoned, intellectual representation,” the 45-year-old Democrat, who was mayor from 2009 to 2015, said at the time.

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