- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
An appointed judge and a prosecutor seeking to unseat him readied themselves for seven more months of campaigning after each won a primary contest this week, and both said they’ll remain true to their courthouse duties as well through the spring, summer and fall.
St. Mary’s Circuit Judge David W. Densford won the Democratic primary on Tuesday in his bid for election to a 15-year term, but Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph M. Stanalonis won the Republican primary. They’ll meet again in the general election, where independent voters also will get their chance to vote for the candidate of their choice.
In the meantime, they’ll likely meet at one or more campaign forums, and in Densford’s courtroom across a hallway from the state’s attorney’s office.
Densford said before taking up a docket on Thursday that he hasn’t had to determine whether he’ll recuse himself from hearing any contested cases prosecuted by Stanalonis during the seven-month period, in part because the two had not at that point faced that situation.
“I don’t expect to recuse, but I haven’t seen him in court since I took the bench” in February, the judge said. “I certainly would look at it. I intend to be fair, no matter what. Nobody has ever alleged that I haven’t, because I am fair.”
Stanalonis said Tuesday night at a campaign gathering in Wildewood that he was ready to continue his dual roles as a candidate and prosecutor.
“I’m going to keep doing my job,” he said. “I’m going to do it to the best of my ability like I’ve always done. The fact that my opponent is on the bench isn’t going to change how I do anything.”
The two candidates are both registered Democrats, and their party affiliation was not listed on the primary ballots, but their margins of victory in the two contests were overwhelming.
In the Democratic race, Densford had 3,125 votes, or 63 percent, to Stanalonis’ 1,836 votes, or 37 percent, based on preliminary results. Stanalonis had 4,519 votes, or 66 percent, in the GOP contest, while Densford had 2,315 votes, 34 percent.
“I’m not surprised,” Stanalonis, 41, said of the split results. “We have been getting tremendous feedback from lots of people in the county, [without] asking people if you’re a Republican or a Democrat.”
He added, “It’s probably a reflection of me being a conservative and my opponent being a liberal.”
Densford, 60, was nominated last year by a judicial nominating commission and appointed to the judgeship by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) last December.
Densford said Thursday that he would have liked to have won both primaries this week, which would have effectively ended the contest, but that he welcomes the campaign ahead.
“I’m happy to face the voters,” he said, as he pursues a victory in November’s general election. “I’m willing to work for it,” he said.