Delegate Kathy Afzali (R-District 4) emerged with a decisive victory over the two other Republican candidates vying for the county executive post.
After emerging with an early lead in Tuesday’s primary, Afzali came in with 6,717 of the 15,711 ballots cast by county Republican primary voters with 82 of 85 precincts reporting.
Cheers erupted across the room with supporters chanting “Kathy, Kathy” as state Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) announced Afzali as the victor of the county executive primary race shortly after 10 p.m.
Though not all polling places had reported results, Afzali’s wide margin over her competitors was cause for celebration among the crowd of supporters and candidates on the “Frederick Republican Victory Slate,” which also included Hough, County Council at-large candidate Phil Dacey and Maryland Senate District 3 candidate Craig Giangrande.
As results trickled in earlier in the night, Afzali held back, her demeanor subdued, which she chalked up to the exhaustion of a long campaign capped off by a day of campaigning at the polls.
“I think I’m just kind of numb,” Afzali said.
But as she took to the stage, Queen’s “We Are the Champions” blasting from the speakers, Afzali was all energy.
“Doesn’t it feel good to be a Republican?” she said, her tone joyful.
She credited her competitors for their service to the county, adding that the victory was not easy to secure.
“I had to work for it,” she said. “I want to thank them for making me a better candidate.”
Afzali won election to the Maryland House of Delegates in the then-District 4A in 2010.
Kirby Delauter gave up a seat on the County Council in District 5 that he felt he could have been re-elected to in order run for the county’s top spot. He received 5,122 votes with 82 of 85 precincts reporting.
Delauter was elected to the then-Board of County Commissioners in 2010, and then earned a seat on the council in 2014, when the county moved to its current form of charter government.
“I put myself and what I believe in out there, and I took the beating,” Delauter said. “You win some, you lose some, and that’s the way life is. It’s been an honor to serve this county for eight years.”
A tearful Regina Williams conceded the race at 10:30 p.m. at her watch party at La Paz in downtown Frederick. She received 3,872 votes with 82 of 85 precincts reporting.
Williams, the former budget officer for the county, entered the race in May 2017 and launched an intense grassroots campaign over the last year in an effort to face off against County Executive Jan Gardner in November.
On Tuesday, Williams and County Council at-large candidate Danny Farrar cruised the county in a military-style humvee to vie for last-minute votes.
Gardner, the incumbent Democrat who was in an uncontested primary, is vying for her second term in the county’s top position. She received 15,402 votes in her uncontested race with 82 of 85 precincts reporting.
Earl Robbins is running as an independent after turning in more than 1,900 signatures earlier this month.
All election results are unofficial until absentee ballots are counted. As of Monday, 1,266 absentee ballots had been sent to Frederick County voters, and 661 of them had been returned, according to the state Board of Elections website.
Absentee ballots can be returned through Election Day.
Absentee and provisional ballots will be counted in three canvasses by July 6, when election results are expected to be certified locally.
The general election is Nov. 6. The county executive’s salary is $95,000, and the winner will serve a four-year term.
Staff writers Hannah Dellinger and Lillian Andemicael contributed to this report.