As news organizations were calling the presidential race Saturday in favor of Democratic nominees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris over Republican President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Frederick County also likely saw a historic shift.

If current results hold, 2020 will mark the first time the majority of Frederick County voters have supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, when they picked Lyndon Johnson. As of Sunday evening, Biden and Harris led Trump and Pence in the county by almost 9,700 votes, according to unofficial results.

The Democratic party was significantly different when Johnson was in office—former Republican President Richard Nixon used what many historians called “the Southern Strategy” in the 1960s to appeal to white southern voters who may have previously been Democrats, thus changing the ideology and platforms of both major parties.

Other factors have also contributed to shifts in ideology, but if local election results hold when they are certified, it will mark the first time in over half a century Frederick County voted for a Democrat for president.

Election Director Stuart Harvey did not call the president or any Board of Education seats Sunday afternoon. He said his office still has about at least 12,000 ballots to count, and there could also be thousands of other mail-in or provisional ballots to tally.

“We will burn the midnight oil,” Harvey said of him and his staff counting all the remaining ballots and certifying local election results by Nov. 13. “We’ve got a few late nights ahead of us.”

Still, here is what some local political officials said of the presidential election and Frederick County’s likely historic vote.

Steven Clark, chair, Frederick County Republican Central Committee

Clark thanked the county and nation’s participation in the election, despite an apparent loss in the White House.

“We were pleased to see there was record turnout in the United States, people exercising their right to vote,” Clark said. “Obviously, it looks like the election didn’t go our way, but that’s democracy.”

He admitted local Republicans have a lot of work to do in the coming months and years when it comes to registering voters and spreading their party message.

“Obviously in Frederick County, the Republican portions are the more rural areas, and we’ll continue to register voters there … but we don’t want to leave the city [of Frederick] out either,” Clark said. “There are Republican voters there, and also we want to make in-roads. They have an election [for mayor and the board of Aldermen] in 2021 that we’re going to contest.”

Deborah Carter, chair, Frederick County Democratic Central Committee

Carter pointed right away to the fact that Frederick County cast more votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris than Donald Trump and Mike Pence, starting on Election night. She believes Harris and Biden will be a good president for everybody, not just those who voted for them.

Carter added that registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans in registered voters for the first time earlier this year, and she expects that trend to continue.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people who changed their registration, who changed their party, that they didn’t leave the Republican party, the Republican party left them,” Carter said. “So it’s possible that a lot of people locally, not newcomers to the county, felt disengaged and wanted something more hopeful.”

Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll)

Hough was mainly concerned about how quickly the cable networks called the race, given how tight the margin was in several swing states.

It’s been a problem since the 2000 presidential election, after George Bush (R) edged out Al Gore (D) following a Supreme Court decision and tight race in Florida, Hough said.

He also questioned whether results in Pennsylvania would hold, given recent legal decisions about whether ballots coming in after Election Day should count, even if they are postmarked by Election Day.

“I just think people get ahead of themselves, and the media is the worst part of it, wanting to declare a winner or this or that when you got states that are a half a point apart,” Hough said. “Obviously, the odds are clearly in Biden’s favor, based on where things are at, [but] there’s actually a process that the Constitution and state laws lay out, and people should just let it play out.”

Regarding local results, he wasn’t surprised.

“I see the trend of the registration numbers being more of a challenge … because Frederick city and south [Frederick] is becoming much more like Montgomery County politically .. we’ve been seeing that for years and years,” Hough said.

Two years from now, Republicans should still compete in local elections, he said.

“Clearly for us, midterms are a bigger [election] and Republicans are very competitive in this state,” Hough said. “Especially because Republicans turn out at a much higher rate in midterms … if Trump’s not in the White House, Democrats are going to have a real tough time turning out voters like they have in the past.”

Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick)

Krimm was happy Biden and Harris called to unify the country in their speeches Monday night. She noted the history of Harris as the first woman—and a woman of color—elected as vice president.

She thinks this year had a big part of why Frederick County may have voted for a Democrat to take office in the White House.

“It’s a referendum on the Trump administration, first of all,” she said. “ ... But I also think the governor [Larry Hogan], being a Republican and his questioning of the Trump administration handling of the virus, I think that contributed to that.”

She also thinks younger voters might be helping local Democrat registration totals.

“I think we have a lot of younger people who are becoming politically motivated and want to be participating in politics ... that’s been an issue for a whole that young people don’t vote,” Krimm said. “But I think that’s trending in the other direction now, and I’m happy to see that because they’re the people that’s going to be inheriting the world. They need to be participating in the decisions.”

County Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D)

Keegan-Ayer was “thrilled” at a Biden-Harris ticket winning. Like Krimm, she pointed to the historical significance of Harris entering the White House.

“Women were so excited to see a woman, but also a woman who looked like them, who would be at that level,” Keegan-Ayer said, noting TV interviews of women of color in cities nationwide. “I think people were really enthusiastic and pumped up about that.”

Biden and Harris need to heal the wounds and unify the country after the last four years, Keegan-Ayer added. She’s unsure whether the Democratic majority will hold in voter registration totals long-term, but she said she’s had interesting conversations with citizens across the political aisle.

“I know people who have been lifelong Republicans who have watched what has happened over the last four years and said, I can’t deal with this … I can’t support this party right now and they changed their registration to unaffiliated,” Keegan-Ayer said.

“I think that was may be a factor in the high number of unaffiliated [voters] we have in this county, but some of them did actually say the Democratic platform is more representative of my beliefs than the Republican platform,” she added.

County Council Vice President Michael Blue (R)

As long as all legal votes are counted, Blue said he would live with the election’s results. He wished there was a more centralized system instead of states having different electoral processes and laws.

“As long as these recounts don’t turn up any illegally casted votes, and as long as these lawsuits don’t shed light on anything improper, then it’s a fair election,” Blue said.

He agreed that Frederick County has turned more Democratic since he started living in the county just over five decades ago. His district, District 5, has a strong base of conservatives, but efforts must be made countywide to register more Republicans.

“Look at the[unaffiliated voters] in Frederick County now,” Blue said. “They’re the ones that the Republican party or the Democratic party is going to entice, to come and see their points of view when it comes to political agendas and values. And that’s where I think the Republican Party really needs to concentrate their efforts.”

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(25) comments

doitforahobby

In 4 years from now people will be wanting a change again.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@doitforahobby

Why?

HappySeller2014

The Republican Party is on the outs in Frederick County, MD, as well as most of the United States.

Biden won with a mandate. Almost 6 miilion more votes than Trump nationwide. Big electorial college spread. The polls were not far off.

The Republican Party will now be relegated to a second-tier, marginalized party. The suburbs and cities are exploding in poulation and rural areas slowly losing people. I can see the Democratic Party winning most political elections over the next 20 years, or a generation.

Once you start mixing ingredients in a stew pot, you cannot extract them. Republicans like to think their white turnips can rule the stew. Nope. The American experiment is now a mixture of races, creeds, nationalities, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations. Until the Republican Party figures this out, they will mimmick the French at Dien Bien Phu.

Aslan19

@Happy, If the claims that you made in your comment are correct, why wasn't there a blue wave where the Democrats took over the Senate and expanded their majority in the House? It appears that the best the Democrats can hope for is a tie in the Senate and a smaller majority in the House.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@Aslan19

Well what's your take on it? Why do you care what Happy says? I have my thoughts on it but ....what I really want is your take on the why?

HappySeller2014

Yo Purple. Hey, purple just a darker shade of blue, after it mixes with and overtakes red being added.

Aslan19

@Purple, sorry to not be online to immediately respond to your post, but I actually have a life and stuff that needs to be done. Your sentence is a bit obtuse, so I am not sure what you are asking. If you are asking about the status of the Republican party, I am not sure. I don't think that they are a second tier party, but the lasting effects of Trumpism is not clear. It may go away or the Democrats may use it like the bloody old cloth from the Reconstruction period after the Civil War.

In regards to the person (I think it was you) who asked about the voting bills, I haven't looked at them, so I am not in a position to comment on them beyond very basic generalities. Since they came out of the House, and Nancy P doesn't work well with anyone outside of her party, I would think that they are rather one sided and would do little to help address the issues regarding vote security. Do any of them have any kind of ID requirement?

HappySeller2014

Better than 2016. Compared to 2016, US will have a large Democratic majority in House and almost (or maybe even) a 50/50 split in the Senate.

Things move incrementally in politics, just like public policy. By 2024, you will be seeing blue everywhere, Aslan.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@Happy

But you notice Aslan19 has yet to respond? I wasn't liking their attitude towards your post, that's why I asked them their take, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised by their lack of response, so carry on.

Aslan19

@Happy, every mainstream TV pundit had Trump losing by anything from 4-12+ points on a national level. The battleground states he was projected to lose by a slightly lower level. Those numbers are just plain wrong. Biden will probably be the President once the Electoral College meets and votes, but there is no way that he can claim a mandate with such a slim number.

In regards to the Senate I see it coming down to 51-49 at best. Purdue already defeated his opponent once, he just missed the necessary 50%. The other race may be closer, but there is probably going to be a lower turnout because you don't have the "get rid of the evil Trump" factor. Also Republicans are doing better with all minorities across the board. Unfortunately, the minority vote hasn't figured out how they are generally used and abused by the Democrats so they still support them. Assuming that each candidate keeps their party affiliated voters, Democrats lose that one too.

NewMarketParent

@Aslan19

Because voter suppression still exists. If you were interested in a legitimate and fair election, you should ask Mitch McConnell to take on one of the numerous voting security bills that were brought to his desk over the last 4 years.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@NMP

Shhhhh you aren't supposed to be bringing up truths like this, you will just cause so much cognitive dissonance with people like Aslan19 their brains will explode all over their keyboards then they can't type inane comments anymore.....carry on though, I am enjoying that vision of brains exploding.

DickD

Hough is just repeating Trump's lies, he doesn't have a original thought.

I am glad Harris is the elected V.P. She is very intelligent. I do question whether she will be able to win a general election for POTUS in 2024 with the large proportion of racists in the U.S. . I certainly hope that I am wrong.

NewMarketParent

@DickD

The one good thing is that she has a blueprint of the path to the Presidency via Barack Obama.

I will say that she has an uphill battle because of both racism and misogyny, but the electorate is changing and that change is undeniable.

On Hough, I hope that he remembers that the same hint at illegitimacy in the process that elects a leader that he doesn't like is the same process that put him in his job, so it either is legitimate or it ain't. Fence-sitting is pretty uncomfortable after a while although I do hope he isn't on one of the poles.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@NMP

LOL..I am binge watching The Office, and Dwight said he could sleep anywhere even on a fence because he has slept on a fence, he just recommends sleeping with the fence pole in your mouth. So I am picturing Hough with the fence post in his mouth trying to sleep.

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

In his mouth is a better mental picture.

Dwasserba

"She believes Harris and Biden will be a good president for everybody, not just those who voted for them." I agree. The phrasing is amusing.

MD1756

So does that mean that Biden and Harris will change the income tax code to get rid of income ta deductions and credits that help promote population growth and that require those who do not produce children to pay more in income taxes than those who do produce children? I certainly think they will be better for environmental protection but will probably not devote as much resources as should be devoted to all sorts of problems (not just climate change). The U.S. EPA and states lack sufficient resources to proper enforce the environmental laws that protect all of us from entities that cannot/do not keep their pollution on their own property or otherwise control it so that it does not harm others.

DickD

What is the difference between someone who had children and they are adults, leaving the parents to pay the same taxes as someone who never had children.

MD1756

Dick, for at least the first 18 years of the children, parents are given income tax deductions/credits for having those children despite the fact they add significantly to the state/local government burden. Rather than giving them those deductions and credits, those deduction/credits should be eliminated so ceteris paribus, everyone, regardless of the size of their families pay the same income tax. At some point, the parents should be asked to pay more taxes rather than less taxes (I'd say more than 2 children). It shouldn't be hard to understand how that is fair and how it impacts parents taking the deductions/credits or just eliminating them.

phydeaux994

Be fruitful and multiply MD1756. And that’s what Homo Sapiens are equipped for. I don’t think you can Legislate away that fact. In fact, a large number of people want Legislation to do just the opposite.

MD1756

NMP, I have no idea who you are talking about, and quite frankly don't care. I'll again ask you if you think it is fair that people who have no children are required to pay more in income taxes by the fact that they have no children?

NewMarketParent

@MD1756

Do you live next to the Duggars or something?

PurplePickles aka L&M

@NMP

You know I had never thought of that? MD1756 living next door to the Duggars, but now he's starting to make sense. Yesterday I recommended he watch the 1st Kingsman movie, and pay close attention to the character Samuel I Jackson played in that movie. Because his rants yesterday were reminding me of that movie, but it went over his head I'm sorry to say. Maybe you can get through to him but if he is living next door to the Duggars, maybe not?

MD1756

Sorry PP and NMP I don't live in a fantasy world and do not make decisions based on a fantasy world, but you go ahead and watch you fantasy shows and take guidance from them if you wish.

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