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Hornberger concedes primary defeat


Hornberger concedes primary defeat

May 28, 2024 | 7:47 pm ET
By Bryan P. Sears
Hornberger concedes primary defeat
Danielle Hornberger announces her bid for Cecil County executive last fall. Hornberger campaign photo

Cecil County’s third elected county executive said her reelection defeat in the Republican primary was driven by a “scheme” she called “tantamount to cheating,” but said she would accept the results.

County Executive Danielle Hornberger (R) ended her re-election bid in a concession message posted Friday on her personal Facebook account. In that message she congratulated her primary challenger.

“There are still a few more votes to be counted, however, it appears that Adam Streight has won the Republican primary election,” she wrote in her message.

Streight, a 24-year veteran of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, made education a key component of this campaign, criticizing the incumbent for a scrum with the local school system that he described as petty.

Hornberger faced criticism for her ongoing battle with the public school system over school system funding. Her proposed budget for the coming fiscal year included a $4 million increase for the school system over this year’s budget, but that was $13 million less than the school system requested.

In April, just before the election, she filed an ethics complaint against Superintendent Jeffrey A. Lawson that alleged the school system leader engaged in improper political activities and “misuse of public funds.”

That complaint was dismissed two weeks later.

Streight unsuccessfully ran for the House of Delegates in 2022. That year he challenged Hornberger’s now ex-husband, Del. Kevin Hornberger (R-Cecil).

Streight received 7,445 votes to Hornberger’s 6,538, a gap of 907 votes in a county where about four in 10 registered Republicans voted in the primary. He  will face Democrat Bill Kilby in the November general election.

In her Facebook statement, Hornberger claimed her ouster was the result of an effort to convince Democrats to switch parties in the primary.

“While I am disappointed in the results of the election, I very much respect the wishes of the voters of Cecil County,” Hornberger wrote. “Fair elections are the bedrock of our Republic. While there is evidence of democrats voting in the Republican primary, and while this is legal under Maryland law, I find such schemes tantamount to cheating and only serve to undermine the integrity and confidence citizens place in their government.

“But for the democrat votes, most of whom were urged to switch purely for the goal of voting the conservative candidates out, which totaled over 2,000, both Council President Jackie Gregory and I would have won the Republican primary,” she wrote.

Streight did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Despite her concerns, Hornberger vowed to “fulfill my term in office with the same effort of the last three and half years, working hard for the citizens of the County and doing my best to run an efficient, transparent and cost-effective government. I also pledge to work with the winner of the November General Election for a seamless transition.”

– This story has been updated to correct the reference to Cecil County executives in the lead. Hornberger was the third elected executive.