Anecdotal evidence has shown hundreds of attorneys selected as Circuit Court judges in Maryland either worked as local or state prosecutors or went through a vetting process screened by bipartisan groups that has helped choose the majority of judges later appointed by the governor since 1970.
Gladys Weatherspoon, a practicing defense attorney for 25 years, did neither and ran an independent campaign for Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge.
According to unofficial results, she received the most votes with 216,676 on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Slightly more than 473,000 Maryland voters cast a ballot on Election Day. Some election results weren’t posted Tuesday night due to technical issues.
Emmanuel Oben of Springdale chose Weatherspoon on Election Day.
“[Judges] are responsible for the laws for this nation and it is critical that we make good choices of the people we put there,” he said after voting with his mother at Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale. “That is a very important decision for us.”
Weatherspoon joined the four candidates who ran as a slate to win a 15-year term on the bench.
According to unofficial results, the incumbents won in this order: Wyntonja Curry with 208,031 votes; ShaRon M. Grayson Kelsey with 206,933 votes; Cathy Serrette with 185,184 votes; and Michael Jared McCarthy with 156,124.
April Ademiluyi, an attorney who practices real estate and intellectual property law, ran as an independent in her third judicial contest but didn’t garner enough votes for the fifth and final spot with 147,910. Ademiluyi did receive more votes from those cast on Election Day and early voting ahead of McCarthy, but she received about 15,550 fewer votes posted by mail.
Circuit court judges hear major criminal cases that involve a person charged with a felony and major civil cases such as divorce and child support. Appeals in case from the county’s district court, which handle lower-level offenses, are also heard in circuit court.
The statewide question on allowing sports betting passed with 1.2 million votes, compared to 630,289 votes against it.
“I have two small children, so any money that we can funnel towards education I am for it,” said Paula Darasaw of Springdale, a pharmacist. “I know some people have some concerns about gaming, or some people being out of control with their gambling. I view that as a personal issue.”
A Yes on Question 2 Committee pumped millions of dollars in advertising and campaign literature ensuring some of the revenue will go toward education.
A statewide constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed with 1.3 million votes and 449,752 against it. The amendment would allow the Maryland legislature by fiscal year 2024 “to increase, diminish, or add items” that doesn’t exceed the proposed budget submitted by the governor.
Two competitive school board races will feature two new members of the 14-member board, including a high school student.
For the third time in slightly more than a year, the school board seat of District 4 will have a new person representing schools such as Ports Town Elementary in Bladensburg, Thomas Johnson Middle in Lanham and Flowers High School.
Shayla Adams-Stafford, who received the top votes in the June primary, also picked up the top votes Tuesday with 16,719 votes, according to unofficial results.
She defeated incumbent Bryan Swann with 8,549 votes. Swann, who works as deputy director of the Office of Financial Management for the U.S. Department of Treasury, was appointed in January 2020 by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks to fill the remaining term of former board member Patricia Eubanks who resigned in September 2019.
Adams-Stafford works as an instructional coach training teachers. She also runs a nonprofit organization called “RemixEducation,” which seeks to provide resources for first-generation college students.
She had several people campaign for her at voting centers that included Del. Julian Ivey (D-District 47A) of Cheverly, school board member Joshua Thomas and former state Sen. Victor Ramirez.
Another competitive school board race featured Alexis Branch and Kenneth Harris II in District 7, who received the top two votes in the June primary over incumbent K. Alexander Wallace.
Voters in that area choose Harris by a nearly 2-to-1 vote with 20,056 votes, according to unofficial results.
Branch, 22, a graduate student at Bowie State University, garnered 10,470 votes.
Harris will represent District 7 schools include Bradbury Heights Elementary in Capitol Heights, Benjamin Stoddert Middle in Temple Hills and Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High in Upper Marlboro.
He received some financial support from the Maryland State Education Association; Friends of David Murray, a school board member; and Vote Yes on Question 2 Committee.
Harris, chosen by Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the Class of 2020 in science, works as a senior engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.
Wallace, who voted Tuesday at FedEx Field in Landover, said he chose neither candidate and wrote–in the Rev. Shirley Gravely Curry, widow of state Sen. Ulysses Currie.
“If somebody is going to represent the constituents of the 7th District, I believe they need to be grass–rooted and long-standing in that district and understand the needs and not be a newcomer to the world of public policy,” Wallace said. “I believe Rev. Curry is. She ran for Senate. She knows the community. I’m all for young people going on the school board, as I am one of them, but you’ve got to have a background in education policy. You’ve got to have a background in understanding your constituents. Neither one, I believe, does.”
Edward Burroughs III easily won reelection with 11,784 votes to retain his District 8 seat in the southern part of Prince George’s against Gary Lee Falls, who garnered 1,875 votes.
Board members Raaheela Ahmed and David Murray ran unopposed.