by Lisa Tome
After a dozen years of campaigning, Chris Sutton is done.
Sutton, who is a corporal with the Cecil Sheriff's Office, has run for the position of sheriff unsuccessfully three times.
Although he never got to be sheriff, he still feels like a winner.
"Always go for your goal. I thought we could make a difference. But (while campaigning) I've met so many friends who are now lifelong friends," said Sutton.
"I stood up for what I believed. Hey, I tried, and I have no regrets. I lost for the third time and now it's time to put my energy and focus into something else. I am thankful for the friendships I've made," said Sutton.
But as of last week, Wednesday, July 9, it appeared that Sutton was still vying for a position. In various parts of the county, signs reading "Sutton for Sheriff" remained in place.
"My initial instinct was to take them to the dump and have a bonfire," said Sutton, who ran as a Republican this year.
Instead, he is turning his sign locations over to other candidates. Sutton said their signs will cover his.
"Other candidates that are in the race will put their signs where mine are. Some of that is happening right now," said Sutton. He said he gave permission to Republican for House of Delegates 35A candidate Kevin Hornberger to use his signs. Other signs will be used by Democrat County Council 2 candidate John Ulrich and Democratic sheriff candidate Danny Blackburn.
The deadline for removing signs for unsuccessful candidates was July 9, 15 days after the primary. County officials in various departments said they had been fielding phone calls from residents who wanted the signs remove. Those who called the Cecil County Board of Elections were urged to call the candidates, said Diane Letts, a staffer at the election board.
Clifford Houston, the county's Zoning Administrator said that no action is taken against those who haven't removed their signs. "They have to go - very soon within the next few days. If the sign is on private property, the resident can take it down," said Houston.
He also said that county roads crews will pick up leftover signs if they see then. But those crewmen won't make a special trip to an area to take down signs. "We try to (take signs down) at minimal cost to the taxpayers. It kind of takes care of itself. But you have to push for it," said Houston.
Sutton isn't the only candidate whose signs remained up after the deadline, Elkton Mayor Rob Alt has a billboard up with his name on it in town limits. The Elkton sign ordinance requires the removal of candidate signs within 30 days of the election. Voters in that town cast ballots the last week of May.
"I only paid for it for 30 days," said Elkton Mayor Rob Alt. "There is no reason I am leaving it up there." Alt said he sublet the billboard and had intended to drape the "Alt" sign with a "Thank You". That didn't come to fruition. "Within a few weeks, it will be covered over," said Alt.
Elkton Town Clerk Michelle Henson said that technically, a billboard doesn't fall under the sign ordinance.