- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The victors in this week’s Republican primary contests in St. Mary’s gathered before a boisterous crowd Tuesday night at the VFW building in California, to bask in the crowd’s applause and rally them for the fall contests ahead.
Steve Waugh of Lusby won a second chance to challenge state Sen. Roy Dyson (D) in November, after narrowly losing a bid in 2010 to unseat the now five-term incumbent.
“Don’t lose the energy,” Waugh called out to the supporters. “We have so much that we can do.”
For starters, Waugh defeated two GOP challengers this week, St. Mary’s County commissioners Larry Jarboe and Cindy Jones. Dyson had no opponent in the Democratic primary.
At Waugh’s side stood Matt Morgan, who tallied more than 45 percent of the vote in a three-way Republican primary contest that day, soundly defeating his two opponents in his bid to succeed a longtime northern St. Mary’s County member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
Morgan told the crowd that his primary contest’s result is a blow to “the status quo. They’re done.”
Morgan’s victory over Bryan “Puff” Barthelme and Thomas “Tommy” McKay paved the way for a faceoff in November’s general election with Daniel A.M. Slade, the Democratic candidate who faced no opposition in his party’s primary. One of them will take the post held in Annapolis since 1986 by John F. Wood Jr. (D), who did not seek re-election this year and endorsed McKay’s candidacy.
After the brief remarks to the crowd on Tuesday night, Waugh said that he “worked real hard,” to win the GOP primary, in which unofficial results indicated he received 43.5 percent of the vote among the senate district’s voters in St. Mary’s and Calvert, compared to 28.9 percent for Jones and 27.5 percent for Jarboe. Waugh also received more votes than either of them in St. Mary’s.
“It’s a matter of saying, ‘I’m going to leave the house at 6 a.m. work until 9 p.m. every day,’” Waugh said, including holding campaign signs, and meeting with voters to hear their concerns. “It makes a difference,” the 50-year-old engineer said.
Jarboe, a 61-year-old Mechanicsville resident completing a fourth four-year term as a St. Mary’s County commissioner, said Wednesday that he’s looking forward to other things after this week’s defeat in the senate primary, including the perspective of providing input from the outside.
“I won’t be going to Annapolis. I find that a great blessing,” Jarboe said. “I’ve been working today, and getting on with life, ... going back to working at the [family lumber] mill and working on equipment ... maybe running a boat and doing some fishing.”
Jarboe said he has no thoughts on whether he’ll get back into politics four years from now. “Instead of people pulling my strings,” he said, “I’ll be able to pull my elected officials’ strings.”
Jones, reached by phone on Thursday, also was moving on to other activities. “I’m on vacation and attending a convention,” the first-term commissioner from Valley Lee said, “and I’ll be happy to discuss this with you when I get back in town.”
Morgan said during a brief interview on Tuesday night that “hard work and a consistent message” led to his victory over his two opponents. “The status quo, that put the state in this position that it is, needs to be replaced,” he said. “I don’t think [McKay and Barthelme] represented the same change that I do. I think people were looking for somebody new.”
Morgan, a 41-year-old Realtor and tech specialist, moved from Charles County to St. Mary’s last September. He was narrowly defeated four years ago in a race against Wood in the same district, which before redistricting included the Hughesville portion of Charles County, which used to be Morgan’s home. This year, Morgan’s opponents focused in part on his relocation that kept him in the legislative district.
Barthelme, a 63-year-old retired liquor business salesman, garnered 29.5 percent of the unofficial vote. McKay, a 57-year-old grocer and publisher of The County Times newspaper, finished third with 24.8 percent of the unofficial tally.
On Thursday, Barthelme said, “I had a great time running. I met a lot of great people. It was a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget.”
He added, “My campaign took the high road, and I feel good about everything. It was a lot of fun.”
McKay said on Thursday, “I obviously was very disappointed [with the results], and I looked forward to an opportunity to try to help with what I think is needed in our community.”
McKay said he was nonetheless “reconciled” with the voters’ decision and that he wished Morgan the best.
McKay served one term as president of the St. Mary’s County commissioners, beginning in 2002, before a failed bid to be elected to the state senate, and a narrow defeat four years ago in his quest to regain the helm of county government.
“I’ve learned that I just need to move on and find other ways to serve the community,” McKay said Thursday. “It won’t be [in] elected office. I cannot under any circumstances envision that possibility. It’s just time for others. The future is with different folks.”
Only one candidate from each party has filed for election to the two other state delegate seats representing portions of St. Mary’s. Del. John Bohanan (D) will face GOP challenger Deb Rey in the November contest, and Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell (R) is opposed by Democratic candidate Len Zuza.