Michael Hough primary election

Republicans Michael Hough, right, and Phil Dacey talk at a primary election night party Tuesday at the Clarion Conference Center.

November’s general election could give Frederick County and the state a chance to see one of the biggest shifts of power in favor of Republicans in recent memory, one state senator said.

But first, the party needs to present a unified front.

Voters have a chance to re-elect a Republican governor for the first time since 1954, end a Democratic supermajority in the state Senate and flip power in the county government, Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) said.

“This is the best chance in our lifetime to do that,” Hough said. “This election couldn’t be more impactful.”

But some Republicans may not be so quick to jump on board. Kirby Delauter, an outgoing county councilman who lost his bid for county executive, said that in the general election, he would not support Kathy Afzali, who won the primary for the county’s top seat.

Instead, Delauter said he would support third-party candidate Earl Robbins, adding he felt Robbins’ intentions for running were with the county’s best interests in mind.

“I made up my mind weeks ago that if I lost, I’d support Earl,” Delauter said. “I like that he’s laid-back, and he sees things that need to be addressed and wants to address them. I think he has Frederick County’s best interests in mind.”

The party has not done a good job of presenting a unified front locally, or at the federal level, Delauter said. He pointed to President Donald Trump “doing everything he said he would do,” but still not getting full support among Republicans as an example of that.

“That’s the one thing Democrats have always done a really good job of that the Republican Party really hasn’t,” he said. “If the Democrats had someone like Trump, who came through on everything he said he’d do, they’d be totally behind them. I don’t know why Republicans haven’t.”

Meanwhile, the Maryland Democratic Party started turning an eye to unity well before election day.

In early June, the party announced a “unity pledge” among gubernatorial candidates and a unity party to be held in Baltimore this weekend with former Vice President Joe Biden as the guest of honor. Other regional unity events took place in Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Howard counties, western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

Several Republicans who made it through the primary already see a unified front forming. Hough formed a “Frederick County Victory Slate” made up of Afzali, Phil Dacey and Craig Giangrande — all of whom were successful in primaries against candidates largely deemed more conservative.

Hough said he chose to build a slate of candidates he deemed to be in the mold of Gov. Larry Hogan, who enjoys bipartisan support and was the second most popular governor in the country as of April, according to Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings.

“All of these candidates really ran issue-based campaigns with specific issues on local platforms,” Hough said. “We wanted candidates who could be competitive and win in districts that Democrats have an edge in terms of voters.”

Even before results came in Tuesday, Hough pledged support for whoever emerged victorious in the Republican primary, even if they were not his candidates of choice.

“We are a small majority” in terms of registered voters in the county, Hough said. “We don’t have any room for infighting.”

Others echoed his call for party unity in their victory speeches, including Delegate Barrie Ciliberti (R-District 4), who was one of three Republicans vying for the three seats in the Maryland House of Delegates who automatically advanced to the general election.

“There is no such thing as a perfect candidate,” Ciliberti reminded supporters and candidates. “But a united front is critical so that when Governor Hogan wins re-election, and he will win, this redistricting will give us our four seats in Congress.”

Amie Hoeber, who won handily against her Republican challengers in the 6th Congressional District primary, acknowledged the factions threaten both the Republican and Democratic parties. However, Hoeber emphasized the common values that united candidates across the Republican spectrum.

“We need to remember that there are lots of values that Republican candidates share,” Hoeber said. “Working together is critical.”

Dacey, who secured the most votes in the Republican primary for County Council at-large, also noted that local elections were less subject to partisan politics.

“At the local level, people just want folks to deliver services and people to be responsive to them,” Dacey said. “I think, across the board, voters are tired of the status quo and they are ready for someone who will actually focus on delivering services to them.”

Several local GOP officials and candidates showed their support for Giangrande, a local businessman who secured the Republican nomination for Senate in District 3, at a watch party on Tuesday night at Brewer’s Alley.

In Giangrande’s victory speech, he gave a notable shoutout to Republican Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who ran unopposed in the primary. With a friendly embrace, Giangrande told the roomful of supporters that he received early support from Jenkins and has come to call him his friend throughout the primary campaign.

“He was very kind to me, and there’s a whole backstory that I’m not getting into. ... But he was very generous, introducing me to new Frederick, old Frederick,” Giangrande said of Jenkins.

Delegate William Folden also attended Giangrande’s watch party and offered support, as well as James Dvorak, who is running for House District 3A along with Mike Bowersox.

Giangrande said he looks forward to running as a slate in the general election.

“I’m really looking forward to taking the next step in November and bringing home some victories,” he said.

Candidates for County Council agreed Tuesday also that the Republican Party needs to come together in order to flip the balance of power on the council.

Republican County Council candidates Danny Farrar (at-large) and Steve McKay (District 2) — who aren’t entirely in lock step ideologically — nevertheless had a positive conversation about party unity outside the Centerville Elementary School polling place early on primary election day.

“I think party unity is not just really important, but it’s paramount,” Farrar said. “The perception that the Republicans are X, Y and Z and that they’re only for one side or one type of people, that’s got to be changed. ... It’s going to take all the candidates getting out there and making an actual concerted effort to go out and talk to everybody from all sides of the aisle and make people see that it’s not what you think.”

McKay said he thought it was important for the party to embrace a wider conservative ideology — and not listen simply to the loudest or angriest voices.

He said there’s a real difference between vocal activists and “the bulk of people that you talk to.”

“That might be the view of a thin layer of the Republican Party, but it’s not the bulk,” McKay said.

But the challenge for Republicans still remains to get voters to the polls. Despite Republicans having 4,000 more registered voters than Democrats, about 2,000 more Democrats than Republicans turned out for the primary election.

Speaking to his supporters Tuesday night, Farrar noted the importance of getting Republicans to turn out to vote.

“We got molly-whopped at the polls [Tuesday],” Farrar said. “You know why? Angry people vote. ... If you don’t want to be angry four years from now, then get angry now.”

Staff writers Danielle E. Gaines, Nancy Lavin and Mallory Panuska contributed to this report.

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler.

(22) comments

Jleftwich

Republicans want unity? They better stop worrying so much about the "party" and understand what it is that people in the county are fed up about. Voter turnout as a whole was abysmal. But, looking at just a few of the preliminary totals, it appears Democrat voters are more enthused - even in races where the candidate was unopposed. Here is a sample:

County Exec
Gardner: 15,402
Total votes for Afzali, Delauter, Williams: 15,711

District 3 county Council
Parsely: 1,682 (Republican)
Keegan Ayer: 3,417 (Dem)

District 4 county council
Trout: 1,869 (Republican)
Fitzwater: 3,460 (Dem)

des21

The Democrats are in the midst of an intra-party Civil War. That usually does inspire people. If you look at the county wife spots - Executive, Sheriff, the numbers were fairly equal with the Republicans having a slight edge.

BstD59

Good riddance to Delauter, Clagett, Shreve, and Tony C. Frederick will be so very much better without them. A big thank you to the voters of Frederick County who kicked these tried and true losers to the curb. Hopefully Hough and Afzali will go the same way and Trump will be impeached, and if not, then at least not re-elected.

KellyAlzan

Kirbie - you are correct about trump doing everything he said he would do. And that’s just it. That’s why he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million. He lost the popular vote because the people are not onboard with what he proposed. If they didn’t support him at 2016 election time - they will never support him. Or any other politician for the matter. That’s just how it works.

America got it right. The electrical college is where our failure derived

jerseygrl42

Good message from the victors....

sej58

Hough's own behavior has divided the Republican party in Frederick County and he should not be trusted.

matts853

Delauter keeps proving he's a petty child. 5 more months then hasta la vista, Kirby.

DickD

After what Hough did to win his primary, four years ago, he should keep quiet. Kirby has always been for Kirby, no one else. Maybe that is why the one whose name we cannot mention supports the egotist maniac, Trump.

FrederickFan

Hough is about Hough, Kirby is about Kirby, and Afzali only cares about Afzali. No honesty or ethics.

sevenstones1000

That Hough guy creeps me out every time I look at him.

DickD

Me too and he goes to our church, has long talks with the priest, but is one of the most dishonest you could find.

hayduke2

seven - [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

des21

Kirby not playing well with others? What a surprise. "Molly-Whopped"? WTH is that? Mix in a smile every now and then Danny. I'm hoping Steve McKay will govern in the mold of Larry Hogan and that moderate (what used to be called Rockerfeller) Republicanism has a chance to make a comeback. I'm not holding my breath but I'm hoping.

public-redux

Molly-whop: I had to look it up in the slang dictionary. To hit someone, usually with a fist.

Now we know.

Titanman123

Sore loser Kirby Delauter is now supporting an anti gun, Obama supporter for County Exec? What a joke he is, maybe now he can go back to running his struggling car washes and actually pay taxes. Glad this baby is leaving office.

Mickey7

The Repuke spinning goes on, right Titman? "Anti-gun", how about Gun Sanity? Obama supporter am I cause I don't have a complexion problem like Trumpists!

DickD

She had some veterans at one of her rallys. One man was in prison with McCain. McCain organized a revolt, all of them, 36, were put in a circle with their hands tied behind their backs. The Frederick County man asked who the man next to him was and he said, John McCain. Good Republicans are hard to find, aren't they?

FrederickFan

Hough and Afzali have divided the party and caused lots of dissention. People who know Afzali dislike her.

Mickey7

What? Between Dumb and Dumber? Let the Trumpist Republican Party die!

DickD

You left out Kirby!

AdamUmak

Please take a deep breath and surrender to the reality that Kirby, who castigated Bud Otis for years when he left the Republican Party, is not supporting Kathy Afzali, a fellow Republican, for County Executive.

The logic is flawless. 😘👌

DickD

Good one, Adam! [lol][lol][lol][thumbup][thumbup]

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