2010 County Elections – An Overview

With results from the 2010 elections now (essentially) in hand, here is an overview sketch of the results for the 128 county offices contested during these elections. For these purposes, MACo references “county elected officials” as including 7 County Executives, 61 Council Members, and 60 Commissioners — but does not include various other offices elected at the county level. (The elected officials of Baltimore City are on a different cycle than other county governments and will be contested in 2011, while two of five Commissioner seats in Cecil County are “staggered” and will be contested in 2012)

(Note: The race for St. Mary’s Commission President appears very close — the following analysis, and MACo’s current summary sheet, assumes that the incumbent Commission President Jack Russell will be re-elected, but this race is unlikely to be fully resolved for at least several days)

The following progression begins with the 132 seats being contested for the coming four year term, and breaks down the results of incumbents currently holding those seats.


148 Total county elected official positions
-16 Positions in Baltimore City, to be contested in 2011
- 2 Positions in Cecil County, to be contested in 2012
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130 County elected positions at stake in 2010 elections
- 2 Newly created seats (Carroll County)
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128 Incumbent officeholders
-10 Incumbents restricted by term limits
-14 Incumbents seeking other offices
-14 Incumbents otherwise not seeking re-election
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90 Incumbents seeking re-election for county office
-17 Incumbents defeated in party primary
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73 Incumbents seeking re-election in general election
-12 Incumbents defeated in general election
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61 Incumbents returning to county elected office

Some narrative summaries of county “turnover” are:

  • Overall “turnover” for county elected officials is 52% (67 of 128 of the current seats are being filled with new officials)
  • Of the 90 incumbents seeking re-election to their current county offices, 61 (or 67%) were successful in their re-election bids
  • Of the 130 county elected positions being filled by election in 2010, there will be a 54% turnover, as 69 of 128 seats will be filled with new officials
  • Of the total 148 county elected positions in Maryland, 71 newly elected officials (including the 2 added in Carroll County) represents 49% of the overall total who will be newly elected
  • Substantial election year turnover among county elected officials is not unusual in Maryland. In 2006, overall turnover was 43% and in 2002, overall turnover was 48%.

    Michael Sanderson

    Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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