Two newcomers to the St. Mary's County political scene aim to win courthouse positions in contests with two opponents who have decades of combined experience.
Republican Sandra Bailey Redden, 41, is trying to unseat incumbent Circuit Court Clerk Evelyn W. Arnold (D) in Tuesday's voting. In September, she began a door-to-door campaign to earn the face and name recognition that Arnold has gained during her 12 years on the job.
Redden, a substitute teacher in St. Mary's County public and parochial schools, said it is time for a new generation of elected public officials. Arnold, 72, has worked in the clerk's office for more than 30 years, serving as deputy and chief deputy under three former clerks.
"After 12 years, [Arnold] should have accomplished what she set out to do," Redden said. "I'm afraid that if she is elected again, she'll retire and somebody will be appointed to the position. I don't think that's fair."
Cindy Adams, a Republican who worked as a senior chief journalist for the Navy, doesn't face an incumbent in the register of wills race. However, her Democratic opponent, Dianne B. McWilliams, has worked as chief deputy under incumbent Norma Dawson since 1977. Dawson is retiring.
As the only candidate who has worked in the register of wills office, McWilliams said she is the most qualified to take over the elected position.
"I have the experience," she said. "To my knowledge, she has no experience."
But Adams said this election offers county voters something they haven't seen much of recently: contested courthouse races. With an open register of wills office and three open Orphans' Court judgeships, voters finally have the responsibility of decision-making back in their hands, she said.
"I feel that ability is useless without opportunity, and I think this is a wonderful opportunity to serve the people," she said. "I look forward to the challenge."
The primary election winnowed the crowded field of Orphans' Court candidates from 10 to six candidates in the two main political parties. Jenks Mattingly of Hollywood gives voters a seventh choice as an unaffiliated candidate. Three judges will be elected.
Mattingly was not on the primary ballot but gathered the 500 signatures necessary to appear on the general election ballot. He has faced both expected and unexpected obstacles during his candidacy, he said. As a federal employee of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, he was required to file as an independent. Thus, he doesn't receive party money, he said.
"You're out there by yourself," he said. "That puts me on the bottom of the list appearing on the ballot."
He's also not the only Mattingly on the ballot, a situation that already has caused some confusion. John T. Mattingly, a Republican police officer from Hollywood, also is running for one of the three Orphans' Court seats. The men are not related.
"A lot of people said they voted [in the primary election] for the other guy thinking it was me," Jenks Mattingly said. "I'm not the other guy. I'm who I am."
Both Mattinglys face Democratic incumbent Russ Cullins of Clements and newcomers Linda R. Dean of Mechanicsville and Pat Woodburn of Compton. The other Republican candidates are Dalton Wood Jr. of Lexington Park and William Roy Buckler Jr. of Mechanicsville.
Incumbent county treasurer Jannette P. Norris is running unopposed for her third term.