Cumberland Times-News

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June 25, 2014

General Assembly open seat means opportunities

The seat is open because incumbent Republican LeRoy Myers Jr. is leaving office to run for the Washington County Commission.

CUMBERLAND — An open seat in the General Assembly presents opportunities for those who haven’t held office at the state level. Republican Michael McKay and Democrat Nick Scarpelli hope to take advantage of that opportunity in November’s general election.

McKay is an Allegany County commissioner, Scarpelli is a Cumberland City Council member. While elections are notoriously unpredictable, McKay says he holds his party’s advantage in his favor.

“I think my ideas about economic development resonates with the citizens of the area,” said Scarpelli, who received 1,234 votes in the Democratic primary. Scarpelli said he’d campaign on his record in helping economic development in the city.

McKay also considers economics a prime issue.

“I am looking forward to taking my pro-business, pro-jobs message of financial responsibility, fiscal and budgetary restraint, and support for smaller and less intrusive government to Annapolis,” McKay said.

The seat is open because incumbent Republican LeRoy Myers Jr. is leaving office to run for the Washington County Commission.

The district has far more Republican than Democrat voters, although there are thousands of unaffiliated voters as well. The district holds 24,747 voters, with 11,581 registered Republicans, 8,584 registered Democrats and 4,228 unaffiliated voters. There are a few scattered voters affiliated with other parties.

District 1C stretches from portions of Cumberland all the way to portions of western Washington County, including Clear Spring. The majority of the district’s voters are in Allegany County.

Scarpelli won the Democratic nomination in Tuesday’s primary without opposition, while McKay defeated Washington County’s Ray Givens in the Republican primary. Overall, the final unofficial totals were 1,484 votes for McKay and 1,163 votes for Givens.

“I want to thank Ray Givens for running such a strong and challenging race. He was a true competitor and made me a better and stronger candidate. I wish him well,” McKay said.

Scarpelli believes he can overcome any advantage McKay may have because of party affiliation in the district.

“I consider myself a crossover candidate. I don’t see myself as a Democrat or Republican, I see myself as a Western Marylander,” Scarpelli said. He said he works well with people and he’ll carry his message of economic development to Annapolis and connect with the powers that be to make life better in the region.

“Splintering does not work,” Scarpelli.

McKay echoed similar thoughts.

“I have learned that the best way to govern is getting people to come together,” McKay said.

McKay said that despite the Republican advantage, he can’t take anything for granted and will campaign hard. Scarpelli has strong name recognition because of the family funeral business and other community activities, McKay said.

“I have to respect that. I can’t take a vote in Cumberland or Allegany County for granted,” McKay said, who added that he’ll spend a lot of his campaign time meeting voters face to face.

Scarpelli and McKay are both Cumberland residents.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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