Annapolis Democrats and Republicans go to the polls today to pick candidates for mayor and the Board of Aldermen, culminating one of the sleepiest primary races in recent memory.
Only three of the city's eight wards have contested elections in the Democratic primary, and only two in the Republican primary. The mayor's race is even more sparse, with neither Democratic incumbent Ellen O. Moyer nor her Republican rival, Alderman George O. Kelley (Ward 4), facing a primary challenger.
"The mayor's race is really what drives people to come out to the polls, and without it, it's hard to get people excited," said city spokeswoman Jan Hardesty. "This is the first time in my memory that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have had a contested primary for mayor."
The race to replace outgoing Democratic Alderman Sheila Tolliver (Ward 2) features the most crowded field, and is the only alderman's race with contested primaries on both sides of the ticket.
Ward 2, one of the most diverse in the city, includes the middle- to upper-income neighborhoods of West Annapolis and Admiral Heights as well as the crime- and poverty-stricken Clay Street corridor, with two of the country's oldest public housing complexes.
In the Democratic race, Debbie Rosen McKerrow, 57, has built her campaign around the city's growing traffic problems. Her opponent, Joseph "Zastro" Simms, 71, has focused his campaign on continuing problems surrounding Clay Street.
On the Republican side, Naval Academy alumnus Michael Christman, 43, is promising to hold development in check and crack down on crime and pollution. He faces Cedar Park resident David A. Hanson, 62, who decries the city's lack of a transportation management plan. Robert H. Eades, the third Republican on the ticket, is running on a platform of preserving affordable housing.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For those within the city limits, the unofficial returns will be available on local government channel 99. Live coverage from City Hall will begin at 8 p.m., when polls close. The election link on the city's Web site, www.annapolis.gov, also will have results, as well as a list of polling places.