SNOW HILL – Citing two
ongoing murder cases along with other unfinished business, long-time Worcester
County State’s Attorney Joel Todd this week formally filed for re-election,
setting up a rematch of the closest election in county history.
Todd officially filed
for re-election on Tuesday, although he has said informally he would seek to
retain his position as the county’s top prosecutor in the weeks and months
leading up to next week’s filing deadline. He has served as Worcester County
State’s Attorney for the better part of four terms, having started in the
position in 1995 after a 10-year stint as deputy state’s attorney.
During his four terms,
Worcester has grown significantly and with the growth spurt, along with the
annual spike in population in Ocean City during the summer season, the criminal
docket in the county has followed suit. However, violent crime in Worcester has
plunged in recent years, a fact Todd was quick to point out this week.
“One of the things I’m
most proud of is that violent crime has dropped dramatically in recent years in
Worcester County, much more so even than the statewide average,” he said.
“Violent crime is down 40 percent over that time.”
Todd was quick to share
credit for the drop in crime with the various state, county and local law
enforcement agencies operating in the county along with the court system and
pointed to the relationships he has forged.
“I give a lot of credit
to various police agencies in the county including the state police, the
municipal departments and our own sheriff’s department,” he said. “Working
together, we’ve been able to make a lot of arrests and gain a lot of
convictions. Our police don’t need a tremendous amount of guidance, but rather
just some advice from time to time on how to proceed with certain cases.
Together, we’ve formed strong partnerships and that has resulted in strong
prosecution and conviction rates.”
Todd said his decision
to seek re-election was an easy one, given the unfinished business still on his
“We have two murder
cases pending and I obviously want to see those through,” he said. “In
addition, we’ve had some great success with the drug operation we announced in
Berlin a little over a year ago and we want to continue with that.”
Last year, Todd and the
allied law enforcement agencies announced a new initiative aimed at ridding
Berlin of open-air drug dealing, and while the program has claimed some early
successes, there is still much work to be done.
“The plan is to fine
tune what we’ve started in Berlin and export that program to other communities
in the county and I want to see that through,” he said.
Todd’s formal filing
this week sets up a rematch with longtime challenger Beau Oglesby, who filed for
state’s attorney earlier this month. After a failed attempt in 2002, derailed
over a residency issue, Oglesby filed again for state’s attorney in 2006 and
took the incumbent Todd to the limits during the election. Todd led Oglesby by
a single vote when the polls closed on Election Day in November 2006, but there
were still 2,700 absentee ballots to be counted along with provisional and
overseas ballots. When the dust settled, Todd emerged victorious by a mere 14
Despite the close race,
Todd said this week he would continue to focus on the duties of his office and
not a protracted campaign against Oglesby.
“I will continue to do
what I was elected to do,” he said. “We have two murder cases pending and
several serious drug cases to prosecute, so I don’t have a lot of time to play
politics. I’ll campaign when I need to and I’ll deal with politics when the
time is right, but I didn’t get elected to be a politician. I got elected to
enforce the rights of the public, protect the innocent and convict the guilty.”