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Del. Peter Murphy emerged victorious Tuesday in the Democratic primary election for Charles County commissioners’ president, besting current commissioners’ Vice President Reuben B. Collins II and all but ensuring the county will elect its first openly gay commissioner in November.

As the polls closed Tuesday night, Murphy was up by more than 10 percent over Collins. Just the second African-American to be elected Charles County commissioner, Collins was vying to become the board’s first black president.

In the four commissioner district races, incumbent Commissioners Ken Robinson (District 1), Debra M. Davis (District 2) and Bobby Rucci (District 4) all won their primaries, while newcomer Amanda Stewart claimed the Democratic nomination in District 3.

In a county where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin, the primary very likely decided who will ultimately be elected commissioner in the November general election.

Victories by Murphy and Stewart victory also signal a likely shift in the board’s makeup. The commissioners tend to currently vote 3-2 on controversial issues, with Collins, Davis and Rucci often voting in favor of pro-growth policies with Robinson and board President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) in opposition.

But Murphy and Stewart are considered political allies of Kelly and Robinson — the foursome spent election night together at Prime Street Grille in White Plains — likely to flip the 3-2 vote in favor of policies geared toward smart growth and environmental preservation.

jnewman@somdnews.com