Maciarello: I’ll keep Ruark for Foxwell case

According to a Greg Latshaw piece in today’s Daily Times, Republican State’s Attorney candidate Matt Maciarello has promised to keep current State’s Attorney Davis Ruark employed as a special prosecutor for the case against Thomas Leggs, who stands accused of murdering 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell last December. That case, which came to its sad conclusion on Christmas Day last year, attracted regional and national attention to the Salisbury area. Matt opined that Ruark “brings the most knowledge to the case,” according to Latshaw’s article.

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This is attached at the end of my Examiner piece, but I thought it was interesting enough to add here as well. How many of the people currently being prosecuted by the State’s Attorney’s Office were enticed by this ad? (Hint: when I found it the ad had 15 views.) But I lifted the quote directly from it.

Statement from Davis Ruark

I was sent this statement from the soon-to-be-former State’s Attorney last evening.

I have been blessed to have served the people of Wicomico County for 23 years as state’s attorney. There are absolutely no words adequate to express my deep appreciation to our citizens, to the exceptional attorneys and staff who have worked with me and to tremendous law enforcement officers past and present with whom I’ve worked on a daily basis.

There comes a time when change is necessary, and I fully accept and respect the decision made by the majority of those voting in the democratic primary.

I am also deeply appreciative of the sentiments expressed in the Matt Maciarello press release thanking me and my staff for the years of service we have given to this county. I value that expression on behalf of my entire office.

I wish both candidates the best in the coming election with the hope that the issues addressing Wicomico County can be openly discussed and potential solutions explored.

Until such time as a new state’s attorney takes office, we will fully fulfill our duties and responsibilities to the citizens.

On a personal level I am remain committed to the best interest of residents and I am excited about the possibilities of service in other areas.

I am an Eastern Shoreman born and bred, a Wicomico native through and through and from my perspective, there are no better people on the face of the earth.

My thanks to all for the greatest thrill of my life in serving as your state’s attorney.

Let me start out my commentary by thanking Davis for his years of service. I know him enough to consider him as more than an acquaintance as there’s been occasions we’ve been able to speak at length when our paths happened to cross because of my involvement with the local blogosphere. Unfortunately, I think that several factors which weren’t directly related to his office were the factors which tipped the scales against him in this election, and hastened the feeling among Democrats that it was time for a change. (Remember, while Republicans have a candidate in Matt Maciarello, Matt didn’t run against Davis directly.)

Obviously the 2008 DWI incident has been beaten to death in the local media, but don’t discount the decision Ruark made to seek the resignations of Sam Vincent and those within the State’s Attorney office who may have supported his campaign. Perhaps Davis believed it would create a distraction should Vincent have continued the effort (and there’s a lot to do given the high-profile Sarah Foxwell case along with less publicized cases.) Losing Sam in an auto accident, though, deprived the voters of Wicomico County a possible alternative candidate for the job and more importantly deprived Ruark the opportunity to reconsider the decision and perhaps come up with a better solution. As it was, it made Davis look like an autocrat only concerned with the trappings of office.

No man is above criticism or replacement, and it’s evident Democratic voters wanted a fresh start.

I suppose it doesn’t matter at this point, but the sense I received in speaking with Davis is that had there been a way to easily run as an unaffiliated candidate he would have gladly done so. I’m actually the guy who delivered him a John McCain sign 2 years ago. But Maryland regulations make State’s Attorney a partisan office and that’s the political reality for the time being, whether he actually believes straight down the line with Democratic principles or not.

(While he’s told me that he’s spoken before to the Republican Club, I did have to lay down the law regarding sign placement at the GOP booth at the Farm and Home Show. He wanted to leave his signs there but the GOP has a candidate. They ended up down the way at the ‘Conservatives for Maryland’ booth.)

Obviously Ruark will be finishing out his term, and there’s important work for him to do regarding passing along some of the unfinished business like the Sarah Foxwell case. I’m certain he will be gracious and helpful to whoever wins in November. Nor will he pack up and blow away entirely as he works closely with the Child Advocacy Center and will still be a popular figure in many circles.

It’s simply become clear that one of those circles is no longer Democratic primary voters.

Thank you for your support!

Update 9/16: I picked up another 46 votes today in the absentee count and increased my margin to 27.

It looks like I may have made it…just barely, but I may have made it.

With a few hundred absentee ballots out, I’m holding on to ninth place for the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee by a 25 vote margin. It’s a damn good thing my suggestion of a couple years ago (to expand the WCRCC from 7 to 9 members) was finally adopted by the committee or I’d be out in the cold!

Obviously I’m bummed that both of my statewide candidates I supported lost. It’s not a surprise that Brian Murphy lost, but I am heartened that he picked up 29% of the vote here – it means that Bob Ehrlich can’t take us conservatives for granted over the next seven weeks. (Murphy got over 30% of the vote in a handful of counties, peaking so far at 33 percent.)

But I guess Eric Wargotz may have bought himself a nomination, since he doesn’t seem to anywhere near the grassroots support that Jim Rutledge did. My friends who are Rutledge backers should be proud that the top two counties in the state to back Jim were (in order) Wicomico (#1) and Worcester (#2.) Shows we have some common sense, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Wargotz skedaddle to the center now.

I did better on the homefront – wasn’t sure Marty Pusey would pull it off but she did! Congrats and way to go Marty!

More shocking was the ease in which Charles Otto won his primary. And people will be talking for awhile about the upset of Davis Ruark by Seth Mitchell.

Looks like later today I can condense my righthand column and prepare for November. But again, thanks to the 2,036 people who had faith in me and my efforts on the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee!

Just don’t tell me I’m a shoo-in next time!

Returning to the fold

Backed by friends and family in a press conference yesterday, Matt Maciarello announced he was back in the race for State’s Attorney to stay, according to published reports. He told those assembled that, “I acknowledge that I stumbled and that for some of you, I’ll lose your votes. But this is Matt Maciarello getting back up. I stand here today reorganized and with a re-energized campaign, ready to win the election.”

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A quick closing act

Just one day after he was nominated by the Wicomico County Republican Party, State’s Attorney candidate Matthew Maciarello announced his withdrawal. In a published report, Matthew said, “I would not have entered this race if I knew the race would devolve into free-for-all attacks against candidates that I respect.”

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One quote I didn’t use in the Examiner piece was where Matt said,  “I know my opponents are strong enough to endure the deluge of ridiculous attacks, however, I am ashamed and embarrassed that my entry into this campaign has had this negative effect.”

Well, they didn’t come from me, although I did bring up the Davis Ruark DWI incident from my archive because it was a legitimate issue of job performance – remember, he took a leave of absence because of it and there was serious debate as to whether or not Ruark should resign. The negative effect came from a number of people who were going to have this negative effect whether Matt jumped in or not.

But should Matt decide again to run for public office, this decision may come back to haunt him. He seems like a bright and likeable young man, so hopefully he will reconsider this perhaps rash decision and finish the job he agreed to do.

Republicans put up State’s Attorney candidate

After the tragic death of Sam Vincent in a June auto accident, it appeared the Wicomico County GOP wouldn’t be able to field a candidate to run for State’s Attorney against longtime incumbent Davis Ruark. While W. Seth Mitchell has filed to run against Ruark in the Democratic primary, the filing deadline came and went without the GOP fielding a candidate.

However, through diligent effort and some persuasion by the Republican Central Committee, a young attorney from Salisbury received the nomination from the committee right on the July 21 deadline for filling vacant ballot positions.

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GOP fortunes change in tragic week

It goes without saying the deaths of Delegate Page Elmore and Deputy State’s Attormey Sam Vincent just hours apart have rocked the close-knit Wicomico community, but it also sets into motion the replacement process for the local GOP and could assure a Democrat safe passage for his re-election.

The death of Elmore, who had announced earlier this month he would not seek a third term to the House of Delegates, means that local Republicans face a process similar to one their Democratic counterparts went through in 2006 upon the passing of longtime District 38B Delegate Bennett Bozman.

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