Local election boards in the four counties of the 36th District completed their final counts of absentee and provisional ballots Wednesday, with the result that Republican newcomer Stephen S. Hershey, Jr. won the GOP nomination for Delegate in District 36 over incumbent Richard Sossi by 124 votes, according to local elections officials contacted by Cecil Times. The unofficial District-wide tally was Hershey 5,449 to Sossi’s 5,325.
After early voting counts, election night tallies, the first absentee ballot count and Wednesday’s recording of provisional ballots and overseas ballots, the results were as follows:
CECIL COUNTY: Hershey, 1,417 (53.3%)*—— Sossi, 1,241 (46.69%)
CAROLINE COUNTY: Hershey, 518 (47.61%)—– Sossi, 570 (52.39%)*
KENT COUNTY: Hershey, 641 (37.64%)—– Sossi, 1,062 (62.36%)*
Q.A. COUNTY: Hershey, 2,873 (53.95%)*—- Sossi, 2,452 (46.05%)
[* indicates winner in each county]
Hershey lost ground from election night as absentee and provisional ballots were counted but he still managed to eke out a victory with a tiny margin, with his winning tallies coming from his home base of Queen Anne’s County and in Cecil County, where he was largely unknown but had the advantage of being aligned with local state GOP politicians Sen. E.J. Pipkin and Del. Michael Smigiel, both R-36.
Sossi had held the Queen Anne’s County seat (which also represents half of Cecil County, part of Caroline County and all of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties) since 2002 and was widely respected in the District for his constituent service. In recent days, Sossi has told friends that he would not contest the outcome or demand a recount. But he has also told associates that he would not endorse his primary opponent in the general election nor would he endorse Hershey’s mentors and allies, Pipkin and Smigiel, according to informed sources.
As the Cecil Times previously reported here, https://ceciltimes.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/36th-district-state-races-hershey-leads-sossi-in-bitter-fight/ and earlier here, https://ceciltimes.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/dist-36-sossi-melts-hershey-on-campaign-gop-primary-endorsement-tiff/ , in the final days of the primary campaign Hershey ran a well-financed negative campaign against Sossi including multiple direct mailings to Republicans falsely claiming that Hershey had been endorsed by popular Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich and depicting Sossi nodding off in a chair.
Throughout the district, GOP primary turnout was very low and a well-financed Smigiel-Pipkin “slate” orchestrated an anti-Sossi initiative. In the past year, Sossi has steered an independent course legislatively from Smigiel-Pipkin and the last minute entry of Hershey– the former campaign treasurer for Pipkin in his failed campaign for Congress two years ago– into the GOP primary was widely seen as political retaliation by the Pipkin-Smigiel slate for Sossi’s independence.
Meanwhile, as the impact of the Hershey upset has percolated through the district, new information about the winning candidate has surfaced. Hershey, who obtained a well-paid political appointee job in the former Ehrlich administration, (see previous Cecil Times article here: https://ceciltimes.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/36th-delegate-seat-with-gop-friends-like-this-who-needs-democrats/ ) was sued by one of his former state government agency employers, the Department of Natural Resources, in the Queen Anne’s County court. A judgment in the amount of $2,810 was entered against him and court filings showed he paid the judgment off. See court docket here:
|County:||QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY|
|Judgment Date:||02/09/2004||Index Date:||02/10/2004||Status Date:||02/09/2004|
|Plaintiff:||MARYLAND STATE OF DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES|
Hershey has been running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and calling for major cuts in corporate income taxes and declared on his campaign literature that he was more “energetic” than his opponent, Sossi.