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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


5/16/2024 Editorial

Worcester’s politics have many layers

Anyone who thinks describing Worcester County politics is a piece of cake has another thing coming, judging from events of this week. On one hand, county voters can be more conservative than those in Maryland’s other districts, while town policies often go in the opposite direction.

On Monday, for instance, the Town of Berlin rejected criticisms of its practice of flying the LGBT pride flag through June by pointing out that its approach to town affairs is to embrace all aspects of the community. Officials noted that the town is a community of differences that they want to wrap in a “One Berlin” theme.

In other words, town officials acknowledge that if the town is a diamond, it sparkles because of the interplay between its individual facets, each of which should be recognized for its contribution to the whole.

At the same time that Berlin is leaving a light on for everyone, county voters went much more conservative than the rest of the state in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. Although former Gov. Larry Hogan carried the county over Robin Ficker, it wasn’t by that much.

Hogan, who built a reputation as a moderate pragmatist governor, tried to appeal to the right with a tough stance on border security, but Ficker took more of a flamethrower approach. He also made it clear that he stands solidly with Donald Trump, while Hogan has disagreed with or criticized Trump numerous times.

So, despite Hogan capturing 68% of the state’s Republican voters to just 24% for Ficker, Worcester’s Republicans gave Hogan 49% of their votes — 2,635 — to a little more than 44% — 2,391 for Ficker. That qualifies as a squeaker as compared to the rest of the state.

Worcester County, like the other counties on the Eastern Shore, is viewed as politically conservative, but there’s much more to it than that. Throw in the unique politics of small towns such as Berlin, and it turns out that this county’s politics are like a cake, alright, a Smith Island cake with many, many layers.