ANNAPOLIS – Beau Oglesby won the Republican primary for WorcesterCounty state’s attorney Tuesday – but he won’t be running in November.
GOP voters will have no candidate in the general election because the former Wicomico County assistant state’s attorney was disqualified fromrunning for the office last month by Worcester County’s Circuit Court.
Oglesby failed to meet a two-year residency requirement, the courtsaid, prohibiting him from running.
“We wanted to just give the voters a choice,” said Larry Schrawder, Worcester County Republican Central Committee chairman. “And when youdon’t have an opponent in the general election, you don’t have thatchoice . . . a one-party system never works.”
Oglesby was only 44 days short of the residency requirement. He movedfrom Wicomico to Worcester County in December 2000, after buying land andbuilding a house, but the clock started running immediately after the2000 election.
The 33-year-old Maryland attorney said his intent was to be inWorcester County by November 2000, plus an earlier seven months ofresidency in 1995 should be “tacked on” to fulfill the requirement. Hisappeal was heard Sept. 5, and the Court of Appeals upheld the circuitcourt’s ruling.
“We believed by the law that he qualified,” said Schrawder’s wife,Pat, an adviser to Oglesby’s campaign. “Unfortunately, seven panel judgesdid not agree with us.”
Incumbent Worcester State’s Attorney Democrat Joel Todd likely will bethe only name on ballots in November. He, too, was unopposed in theprimary. The Republican Party may nominate another candidate, said WilliamG. Williams III, Worcester County Democratic Central Committee chairman,who brought the original lawsuit against Oglesby in May. “We’re nottrying to deny the Republican Party from having a qualified candidate torun,” Williams said. “Our suit was about denying a candidate who did notqualify.” While there is such a provision, acknowledged Pat Schrawder,getting another qualified candidate at this late date is “not an easything to do.” The Maryland Constitution says eligibility for the state’sattorney’s office requires residence of “at least two years, in thecounty, or city, in which he may be elected.” Republicans have complainedthat Democrats ignored election law in filing their complaint againstOglesby’s candidacy, which he filed in January 2001.
Election law requires complaints be filed within 10 days, said Larry Schrawder. “But (the Democrats) didn’t do anything for 129 days,” he said.
The court clarified the issue during the appeal hearing, Williamssaid.
“The 10-day limitation applies to the elections – and the elections is Election Day,” he said.
Oglesby was pushing the 10-day law as a “technicality to try to avoidthe real issues of this case,” Williams said, which is whether thecandidate met the minimum residency requirement.
Larry Schrawder is now concerned that a precedent has been establishedto disregard the 10-day law. “Now if someone else has that samecomplaint, they will use that case of Williams v. Oglesby,” he said. “Itjust messes up the whole election code.”
He said Oglesby would try for the office again.
– 30 – CNS-9-11-02