By Greg Wehner, Staff Writer
The preliminary results are in for the Worcester County primary races, and the commissioners will see a new face on the dais representing the South Point and Sinepuxent area for the next four years.
Eric Fiori, 44, took 32.48 percent of the vote in District 3 with 293 votes. The only race in the district, represented by Commissioner Bud Church for the past 20 years, was between four Republican candidates and netted 902 votes. Mail-in ballots have not been tallied to this point.
“It was a hard-fought battle…and we knew in this race every vote counted,” Fiori said, adding that he was cautiously optimistic that his lead will stand after the mail-in ballots are counted later this month. “I think our message prevailed. If this comes through, I’m really excited to serve the people.”
Assuming it does come through, Fiori will go on to represent the district for the next four years as a commissioner since there are Democratic challengers on the ballot for November.
Tim VanVonno collected the second most votes in the district with 259, followed by Tom Gulyas with 237, and Shawn Kotwica with 113.
In retrospect, the primary race between two Republican candidates four years ago resulted in a slightly l0wer 880-vote total.
Commissioner Chip Bertino will continue to represent District 5, which includes a major portion of Ocean Pines, for the next four years after taking 508 votes to opponent Grant Helvey’s 296 votes.
The constituents of neighboring District 6 in Bishopville voted Jim Bunting to a fourth term with 527 of the 888 counted votes. Bunting’s opponent, Richard Addis, Jr., is a former member of the Air Force and received 361 votes, or 36.82 percent.
District 4 had a four-way race with all candidates getting more than 22 percent of the vote. But of the four, Ted Elder received the most votes with 214, or 27.09 percent, and will, barring an upset in the write-in ballot count, serve as a commissioner for a third, and possibly final term.
Former commissioner Virgil Shockley, who ran this time as a Republican instead of Democrat as he did in 2018, received 196 votes, former Fire Marshall Jeff McMahon took 191 votes, and Nancy Bradford collected 189 votes.
Commissioner Diana Purnell will also go on to serve another term as a county commissioner for District 2 after collecting 311 votes, or 82.93 percent.
Catherine Freeman, who made her first run for a position as a commissioner, received 64 votes, or 17.07 percent.
In other county elections, Sheriff Matt Crisafulli will get a second term after collecting 4,090 votes to challenger Jeffrey Buhrt’s 594.
This year’s primary ballot included candidates from both the Republican and Democratic party seeking the governor’s seat.
On the Republican side, Dan Cox and Gordana Schifanelli carried Worcester, receiving 3,087 of the 4,766 votes cast. In the Democratic race, Peter Franchot and Monique Anderson-Walker received the most votes out of 10 candidates seeking the party voters’ nod to move forward in the race with 619 of the 1,966 votes, or 31.49 percent.