2018 Turnover Brings 71 New Faces To County Offices

With the 2018 general elections now complete, here is an overview sketch of the results for the 135 county offices contested during the elections. View MACo’s full summary of county election results.

For these purposes, MACo references “county elected officials” as including 10 County Executives (including the Mayor of Baltimore), 90 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 2020, while two of the five Council seats in Cecil County are “staggered” and will be contested in 2020. Cecil County’s Executive seat also is not contested until 2020.)

Also note that Prince George’s County has added two “at large” Council Members through a Charter Amendment, effective with this election. For these calculations, MACo has removed the newly created seats from the calculations, rather than consider them a “turnover” seat.

In multiple jurisdictions, voters have returned individuals to office – either the same they had once held, or another office in the same county. MACo has not attempted to remove these new officeholders from our calculations of turnover.

The following progression begins with the 135 seats being contested for the coming four-year term, and breaks down the results of incumbents currently holding those seats.

154  Total county elected official positions
-16   Positions in Baltimore City, to be contested in 2020
-3    Positions in Cecil County, to be contested in 2020
– – –
135  County elected positions at stake in 2018 elections
-2 Newly created county positions (Prince George’s Council)
– – –
133   Incumbent officeholders in positions at stake in 2018
– 6   Incumbents restricted by term limits and not running elsewhere
-22  Incumbents seeking other offices
-19   Incumbents otherwise not seeking re-election
– – –
86   Incumbents seeking re-election for county office
-10   Incumbents defeated in party primary
– – –
76   Incumbents seeking re-election advance to the general election
-12  Incumbents defeated in general election
– – –
64  Incumbents returning to county elected office with 2018 win

Some narrative summaries of county “turnover” are:

  • Of the 135 county elected positions being filled by election in 2018, there will be a 53% turnover, as 71 of the seats will be filled with new officials (or people in new roles).
  • Of the 86 incumbents seeking re-election to their current county offices, 64 (or 74%) were successful in their re-election bids.
  • Of the total 154 county elected positions in Maryland, 71 newly elected officials represents 46% 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 2014, counties saw a 44% turnover rate
In 2010, overall turnover was 52% and in 2006, overall turnover was 43%


See all of MACo’s county election coverage.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties