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Cecil elects first county executive, who promptly changes party

The Cecil County seal. (Source: Maryland State Archives)

In its first local election since switching to a charter form of government — with a county executive and council — Cecil County residents picked Tari Moore, a Republican who had been a county commissioner, to be its first county executive.

The Moore who takes office, however, won’t exactly be the one voters elected.

The Cecil Times reported this week that Moore, in an apparent effort to prevent a pair of state lawmakers from playing a role in deciding who takes Moore’s soon-to-be-vacated council seat, changed her party to “unaffiliated” this week.

By doing so, her vacated council seat will not have any party affiliation, allowing her to avoid the county’s Republican Central Committee.

The Times reported that the four remaining members of the county council — all Republicans — likely would have been deadlocked deciding between two of the three candidates the committee would have nominated. In that case, Moore would be allowed to choose, but her options would have been limited to those already nominated.

Moore told The Times she made her decision “only after long and careful consideration, and because I believe that the best interests of all Cecil County citizens should outweigh my own personal preferences in this matter.”

Moore went on to say she would further explain her decision when she is sworn in Monday as county executive.

The county Republican Central Committee is run by a political group aligned with Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr. and state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, both Republicans who represent parts of the Upper Shore. Pipkin is the Senate’s minority leader and Smigiel chairs the House of Delegates’ Tea Party Caucus.

Neither lawmaker could be reached for comment Friday evening.