Home National Weather Some Perryman Democrats became Republicans to support Bob Cassilly in July primary – Baltimore Sun

Some Perryman Democrats became Republicans to support Bob Cassilly in July primary – Baltimore Sun

by DrewLUD

For lifelong Democrat Stacy Stone, the decision to switch her party registration to Republican for this year’s primary election was “pretty painful.”

“It’s not like I haven’t ever voted for Republicans before,” Stone said, “but I’ve always been proud to be a Democrat and what the Democratic Party stands for.”

Stone, like several Perryman residents, switched political parties and registered as a Republican this year, mainly to vote for state Sen. Bob Cassilly for county executive.

Cassilly currently represents District 34. He previously served on the County Council, the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners and the county’s Republican central committee.

The 3P Protect Perryman Peninsula coalition recommended voters support Cassilly in the Republican primary last month because he, like the coalition, opposes the proposal to build 5.2 million square feet of warehouse space on the Mitchell property.

Cassilly wrote in a July 17 statement on the coalition’s website: “I oppose the proposal that has been put forth for an ultra-mega distribution center on the Perryman Peninsula as unfair to, and unsafe for, the other landowners on the Perryman Peninsula and a risk to a fragile environment.”

Stone, like several others who switched parties, wanted to weigh in on the Republican primary since the Republican primary winner is likely to win the general election.

“It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that whoever won the Republican primary would become the county [executive],” said Perryman resident Ken Shannon.

Cassilly won the Republican primary with 66.5% of the vote. He received 19,626 votes and defeated Billy Boniface, who received 9,879 votes. Blane Miller III, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, received 14,620 votes.

Harford County has had a Republican county executive since 1998. Republican incumbent Barry Glassman won the 2018 general election with 67.4% of the vote. Glassman is in his final year of office and is running for state comptroller.

Boniface has served as Glassman’s chief adviser since July 2020.

The 3P coalition recommended primary candidates for various county positions for both parties. They did not recommend Miller, the Democratic candidate for county executive.

The coalition also did not recommend voting for a Republican in the primary for the District F County Council seat, where Perryman lies. Republican Curtis Beulah currently holds the seat and won his primary. The coalition, however, did recommend Democrat Jacob Bennett for District F.

Stone said she supported Bennett for the District F seat over Beulah because she’d like to see an additional Democrat on the County Council. Bennett and Beulah will face off in the November general election.

“It’s best to have different opinions at all levels of government,” she said.

Leigh Maddox, another lifelong Democrat, said it was not easy for her or her husband to switch to the Republican Party.

“We felt like it was important for our local interests here and our property rights,” Maddox said.

Shannon also made the switch to vote for Cassilly and put an end to the “mismanagement of [their] part of Harford County.”

“[Cassilly]’s certainly done way more than Glassman or Boniface to indicate any kind of support for us in our struggle to keep our way of life,” he said.

While Shannon was also a Democrat for many years, he said that in local politics, “parties don’t really carry the influence that they do in national politics.” He also found that his Republican vote had more power in a county that is largely Republican.

“It gives me a voice that I don’t have otherwise,” Shannon said.

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Ron Stuchinski also switched to Republican after having been registered as an independent, saying this election was “do-or-die” for him and the community.

“My vote matters more in our county than in our state right now,” Stuchinski said.

Stuchinski didn’t like that Boniface’s response to the Perryman citizens’ outrage was to “let the process play out.” When Perryman organizers encountered Boniface during a rally in March, he said the project was “going through the process.”

“Citizens are part of the process, and we should have a say,” Stuchinski said. “And we just feel like we haven’t had that say in the last eight months that we’ve been fighting for our community.”

Maddox, Shannon and Stuchinski said they have family members who also switched parties so they could vote for Cassilly. But those who switched differ on whether they’ll switch back.

Stuchinski said he sees himself remaining a Republican, while Stone said she’ll likely switch back before the 2024 presidential election. Maddox is less sure.

“Every election is different, and I think there certainly is a benefit to having the flexibility not to be married to any one party,” Maddox said. “I also think it’s important to vote in primaries, so maybe I’ll be a Republican for primaries and then a Democrat for generals. I don’t know. It’s too soon to say.”

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Source: Baltimore Sun