Frederick County is one of the few counties in deep-blue Maryland where voter registration between Democrats and Republicans is about even.
Once considered a conservative bastion, demographic changes in recent years have turned the county from red to purple. Republicans tend to have an advantage in rural areas while Democrats tend to be dominant in the city of Frederick and its surrounding areas.
Gov. Larry Hogan, who is considered a moderate Republican, won Frederick County with 63% of the vote in 2014 and 68% in 2018. However, President Donald Trump’s margin of victory in the county was less than 2.5 percentage points in 2016, which suggests the county has become less amenable to staunchly conservative candidates.
Whether Trump will win Frederick County again remains to be seen. However, most of the voters who spoke with MarylandReporter.com while waiting in line to cast their ballots at Tuscarora High School in Ballenger Creek on Election Day said they prefer the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, over Trump. About 100 people were present at the school on Tuesday morning.
“I’m voting for Biden because politics needs to become less divisive and less polarizing,” said Brittany DeFrehn, 35, a small business owner.
DeFrehn, who worked on late-Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said Biden is the “best” candidate to lead the nation.
DeFrehn said she considers it likely that there will be mass “demonstrations” across the nation if Trump is re-elected.
Darryl Wheeler, 56, a truck driver who supports Biden, said it is probable such demonstrations could turn violent.
“Will there be violence if Trump is re-elected? Unfortunately.”
Chabiram Beorat, a 54-year-old engineer who was born in the Caribbean, said he is supporting Biden because of Trump’s “lack of morality and decency.” Beorat said Trump has cozied up to dictators and that that is “not right.”
Fabiana Machado, a 33-year-old nurse whose family is from Uruguay, said she is voting for Biden because she is a “Democrat.” However, Machado said that in her opinion “both candidates suck.”
Machado said part of the reason she opposes Trump is because the president “is against immigrants and black people.”
But not everyone said they oppose Trump.
Matt, 36, who works in law enforcement, said he is voting for Trump because the president supports the police and is a “better candidate” overall than Biden. Matt said Trump “gets things done” whereas other politicians, like Biden, are simply all talk.
Paulette Anders, a 50-year-old school counselor and write-in candidate for the Frederick County Board of Education, said she supports Trump because the president is “pro-life” and is the best candidate to get the economy “back on track” after the coronavirus “lockdowns” have ended.
Anders said that like Trump she believes all children should return to school for in-person learning provided that they do not have a medical condition or learning issue that might preclude that possibility. “Children should be in school,” Anders insisted.
Mike O’Brien, a 43-year-old teacher, said he is deadlocked between the two candidates.
“Both candidates do not represent what the country needs.”
O’Brien added: “We need leaders that are more like regular people.”
More than half of Maryland’s registered voters have cast ballots as of Tuesday morning. Polls are open across the state today for in-person voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
While Maryland is not considered in play in the presidential race, several important initiatives are on the state’s ballot this year. One would legalize sports betting and another would give the General Assembly the authority to add items to the state’s budget provided that those items do not exceed the spending ceiling imposed by the governor.
No Republican presidential candidate has won Maryland since George H.W. Bush in 1988.