Dr. John B. Koerner Elected Mayor In Tuesday’s Balloting

May 9, 1935

Harris, Forsyth and Henry Clarke Win Council Seats

Record Votes Turns Out

Most Animated Municipal Contest In History of Sykesville Brings Nearly 95% of Voters to Polls; Organization Group Successful

The Result

Dr. John B. Koerner: 216
Clarence R. Clarke: 124


Henry W. Clarke: 196
William Henry Forsyth: 180
J. Marlon Harris: 175
Benj. F. Brown, Jr: 151
E. Amos Ruch: 150
H. Lester Phelps: 122
Cellus L. Brown: 36

The most animated municipal contest in the history of Sykesville was that of Tuesday when the town elected Dr. John B. Koerner Mayor by a vote of 216 to 124 for Clarence R. Clarke. The election marked a high spot in municipal voting here, a total of 340 votes being cast. This was only about 20 votes short of the total voting strength and on a percentage basis represented 94.6.

The counter was between two groups of voters under the leadership of Millard H. Weer, the retiring Mayor, and Robert W. Carter. The “organization” group, led by Mr. Weer, was the victorious group, electing all but one of its candidates. The opposition, led by Mr. Carter, put up a spirited contest, but to little avail.

The heavy vote was due largely to the fact that there were two complete sets of candidates for membership in the town council and all summoned their friends to their aid. The council is composed of six members, three members being elected every two years. This is a wise provision of the city charters as there are always three hold-over councilmen. The hold-overs this year are R. Kenneth Barnes and William M. Forthman. Dr. Koerner, who was elected Mayor, is a member of the council until inducted into the higher office. This will leave one vacancy in the council, which will be filled by that body rather than by a special election.

It was expected by some that Dr. Koerner would resign from the council when nominated for Mayor, but he failed to do so. To meet the contingency in case of a resignation, Cellus L. Brown was placed in nomination for the council. The fact that there was no vacancy to fill accounts for the small vote credited to him, which in no sense is to be regarded as a measure of his popularity or standing in the community. The three councilmen elected are: J. Marion Harris, Henry W. Clarke and William Henry Forsyth. The latter was the only non-organization candidate to be elected. The vote for all candidates in detail was as published at the top of this column.

It would take a Frank H. Kent, political philosopher of the Baltimore Sun, to give an understandable analysis of the situation which led up to the contest of Tuesday. No predominant fundamental issue was at stake, but there were many small issues involved, personal and otherwise, that contributed to the widespread interest and to the result. It needs only to be added that the contest for the most part was good-natured and friendly throughout, which is to be commended. An evidence of this is seen in the fact that Dr. Koerner and Clarence Clarke, rival candidates for Mayor, sat side by side in the room where the votes were counted, pleasantly chatting as the count went on. When the result was announced Mr. Clarke grasped the newly-elected Mayor’s hand and was the first to congratulate him. Thus was wiped away any possibility of stings or scars to be obliterated in the future, and showed a fine spirit on the part of the defeated candidate.

Proud, of course, were the organization men of their victory, but there was no disposition of the successful candidates to boast over their opponents, who took their defeat on the chin, with heads up and smiles on their faces.

The candidates are all friends and neighbors, and it speaks well for their broadmindedness and good sense that these friendships are not to be disturbed as result of the voting. The election made history for Sykesville that in no wise reflects on the town.

The election officials who served on Tuesday were Mrs. R. K. Barnes, Mrs. James Ridgely, Miss Elisabeth Hepner, Mrs. Nellie Timanus, and Walter V. Bennet. Two improperly marked ballots, they reported, were thrown out.

The heavy vote indicates that public sentiment was deeply stirred. To come within a mere 20, or 25 of registering the will of ever qualified voter within the corporate limits is something of which to be proud and indicates a healthful condition of the public mind. It is always encouraging and commendable to have the people of a town take an interest in its affairs. Too often the reverse is true. At the recent election in Westminster only 89 votes were cast. The situation in Sykesville not only indicates a more healthful and intelligent public sentiment as regards municipal affairs but a determination on the part of the voters to look closely after public interests. On a whole the town is to be congratulated, not alone for the interest manifested but on the character of the men chosen for public office.

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