la plata primary election

Amanda McCourt casts her vote in the La Plata Primary Election for Ward II councilmember Monday, March 20 in La Plata.

La Plata, MD – C. Keith Back and challenger William B. Finagin will square off in the La Plata General Municipal Election May 2 for the Ward II councilman seat after the two candidates emerged from a field of three in the town’s Primary Election Monday, March 20.

The Ward II race was the only game in town for the primary.

The race does set the stage for an interesting race in Ward II in May. Finagin came within nine votes of the incumbent Back in Monday’s primary, losing only by a 119-110 margin. Challenger Jon W. Norris was the odd man out after he garnered 52 votes among the three candidates.

Norris said he got into the race after his 17-year-old son registered as a candidate and then was excluded from running because of his age. “He asked me if I would run for him and I told him I would,” he said. Norris said he would like to see the town open up the voting process.

“I can’t see why in a small town such as this, residents can’t come in and register to vote when we have the election,” he said. “It’s almost like they don’t want people to come out to vote.”

Monday’s voting finalizes the field for the town’s General Municipal Election May 2. Lynn D. Gilroy, former Ward III councilmember, will run for mayor against Jeannine Elizabeth James. Matthew Timothy Simpson is challenging Ralph Wayne Winkler for the Ward I seat.

Back and Finagin will now face off in the Ward II race while Timothy Giles, environmental operations supervisor for the Charles County Department of Public Works and Emily Mudd Hendricks will vie for the seat formerly occupied by Gilroy.

Mudd Hendricks isn’t the only Mudd in the race as Paretta (Paddy) D. Mudd is challenging Councilmember Joseph W. Norris for his Ward IV seat.

While all of the town’s registered voters were allowed to vote in the primary, only 294 of 5,600 registered voters in the municipality cast a ballot.

“It’s actually been a pretty good turnout for a primary election,” Back said Monday evening. He admitted primary elections usually have a more sparse turnout than the general election,

“We’re in the rush hour right now,” he said.

Contact Joseph Norris at