2014 County General Elections – Calculating “Turnover”

With the 2014 general elections now complete, here is an overview sketch of the results for the 130 county offices contested during the elections.  For these purposes, MACo references “county elected officials” as including 10 County Executives (including the Mayor of Baltimore), 88 Council Members, and 54 County 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 2016, while two of the five Council seats in Cecil County are “staggered” and will be contested in 2016. Cecil County’s Executive seat also is not contested until 2016.)

Also note that Frederick County is moving from having 5 Commissioners to a Charter form of government with a County Executive, two county council members at-large and five council members by district. For these calculations, MACo has treated the five current Commission seats as though they were continuing into the new Council, with two new council seats and the new County Executive role as additional positions.

The following progression begins with the 133 seats being contested for the coming four year term, and breaks down the results of incumbents currently holding those seats.

152  Total county elected official positions
-16   Positions in Baltimore City, to be contested in 2016
-3    Positions in Cecil County, to be contested in 2016
– – –
133  County elected positions at stake in 2014 elections
-3     Newly created seats (net change in Frederick County)
– – –
130   Incumbent officeholders in positions at stake in 2014
– 4     Incumbents restricted by term limits
-19  Incumbents seeking other offices
-13   Incumbents otherwise not seeking re-election
– – –
94   Incumbents seeking re-election for county office
-17   Incumbents defeated in party primary
– – –
77   Incumbents seeking re-election advance to the general election
-5  Incumbents defeated in general election
– – –
72  Incumbents returning to county elected office with 2014 win

Some narrative summaries of county “turnover” are:

  • Overall “turnover” for county elected officials is 45%.
  • Of the 94 incumbents seeking re-election to their current county offices, 72 (or 77%) were successful in their re-election bids.
  • Of the 133 county elected positions being filled by election in 2014, there will be a 45% turnover, as 61 of the seats will be filled with new officials.
  • Of the total 152 county elected positions in Maryland, 64 newly elected officials (including the 3 added in Frederick County) represents 42% of the overall total who will be new to their roles.

Substantial election year turnover among county elected officials is not unusual in Maryland, in part driven by the coincident four year terms with most state and county offices. In 2010, overall turnover was 52% and in 2006, overall turnover was 43%.