Bennett Narrowly Wins 'Dirtiest Campaign' for Mayor
Mayor Michael Bennett beat challenger Patrick McGrady by 26 votes in the Aberdeen municipal election.
Beating his opponent by only 26 votes, Aberdeen Mayor Michael Bennett was reelected to his third term on Tuesday night after what he called "the dirtiest campaign" he had ever experienced.
Bennett received 764 votes, barely ahead of the 738 votes cast for challenger Patrick McGrady, city elections supervisor Gina Bantum announced at the Aberdeen Senior Center.
McGrady, a Republican, mounted a serious challenge against the Democratic incumbent in the nonpartisan election that took a bizarre last-minute twist when the city's ethics commission acted on a complaint McGrady filed against Bennett. On Oct. 14 the commission agreed with McGrady's complaint and stated that Bennett had violated ethics code by accepting a trip to Georgia paid for by Ripken Baseball.
"This is absolutely the dirtiest campaign I've ever been involved in, and I am dismayed that I have to go through the process of repairing damage to my name that an unscrupulous opponent wanted to put out there," Bennett said after the results were announced. "It was a lot closer than what I thought it was going to be. The bottom line is we got a mandate to move forward, and we're going do it aggressively."
Turnout for registered voters in the Aberdeen municipal election was under 20 percent.
For the uncontested four council member races, incumbents Ruth Elliott received 1,059 votes, Sandra Landbeck received 1,031, Bruce Garner received 992 and Ruth Ann Young received 948. The council backed Bennett's reelection.
"I am elated to be able to have this opprotunity to continue to work with them. They are a good group to work with. I am really blessed to be able to move forward," Bennett said. "I guess all I can say is for the next four years, watch our smoke."
The final, official results of the election will be posted Friday.
Bennett leaves Wednesday for the National League of Cities conference to speak in his role as president of the Maryland Municipal League. He is scheduled to return Sunday.
He said he will begin legal action on Monday against the city's ethics commission because "they've violated the process" and did not give him a hearing about McGrady's complaint.