Billy Boniface, a longtime adviser to Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R), became the first candidate Tuesday to formally enter the race to replace him in 2022.
Boniface, a former Harford County Council president and currently chief adviser to Glassman, had signaled for weeks that he planned to run next year, when Glassman is term limited.
“My administration will be based on three principles: defense of land preservation and our rural way-of-life, unwavering support for law enforcement, and Conservative policies that protect taxpayers and strengthen local businesses,” Boniface said in a statement. “Under my leadership, Harford County Government will continue to operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner with a focus on customer service, transparency, and accountability.”
Boniface, whose family owns a horse farm, spent two terms as Harford County Council president, winning his first term in 2006 and running unopposed for re-election in 2010. He spent the next 5 1/2 years as chief administrative officer for Harford County under the Glassman administration, overseeing the budget and day-to-day operations of the county government.
Last summer, he became Glassman’s chief adviser, responsible for recommending, planning, directing and managing all policy initiatives of the county executive.
Harford voters last elected a Democratic county executive in 1994, so all the action to replace Glassman is likely to be on the Republican side. State Sen. Robert G. Cassilly is seen as a likely Republican contender, and County Council President Patrick S. Vincenti (R) and Havre de Grace Councilmember Casi Boyer (R) may also run.
As of mid-January, Vincenti led the money chase with $169,498 in his campaign account; Boniface reported $107,759 on hand, while Cassilly had $98,487. Boyer does not yet have a state campaign account.
Glassman is pondering his own political future, which could include a Republican primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Andrew P. Harris or a run for governor or comptroller — or retirement from politics.
In addition to his government work, Boniface is touting his business and civic experience.
Besides running Bonita Farm in Darlington, he is a former president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and served on the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and the Maryland Young Farmers Advisory Board. He currently serves on the board of the Maryland Horse Foundation.
Boniface is a volunteer firefighter and he his wife Barbara founded and administer the Ben Boniface Memorial Fund, which promotes participation in outdoor activities and an appreciation of the scenic beauty in the Deer Creek Valley and elsewhere in Harford County. It was named for their son, who was killed in a car crash in 2012.
Boniface used horse racing metaphors to describe his take on the campaign.
“We are out of the gate and have put together a strong grassroots team to see us across the finish line first,” he said. “A lot of hard work remains, and I look forward to sharing my message with Harford County citizens over the coming months. Together we can keep Harford County on track.”