NEW ANNAPOLIS MAYOR | 'We have a town with a little bit of division'
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) - Australian native and longtime restaurant owner Gavin Buckley is reflecting on his victory having defeated Republican Incumbent Michael Pantelides for mayor of Annapolis.
During an election night party Tuesday at one of his restaurants on West Street in Annapolis, Buckley thanked Pantelides for "running a great race. We were always civil to each other."
In a statement, Pantelides said: "I talked to Mayor-Elect Buckley and told him he should be proud of the win."
"I also told him I am available to help anyway I can during the transition," said Pantelides.
Buckley said: "I'm doing this not because I have high political aspirations, just when you want to see some change happen and you don't see it happening, you get frustrated, you step in and try to see if you can make a difference."
Buckley, who has lived in Annapolis for 25 years, said: "I've never done anything political in my life. My mom was involved in politics when I was a little kid. I remember vividly she would hand out cups of tea at the picket line for the unions."
But Buckley says he has been involved in redeveloping West Street, which just two blocks from the Maryland State House.
"West Street has a great community of residents and business owners and it's really become the place for people to go compared to what it used to be like," said Buckley.
Buckley said: "We have a town with a little bit of a division in it. There's definitely a tale of two cities in Annapolis, and West Street's success has been its inclusivity, so we've always tried to include everybody."
"I don't think the whole town feels that way at this moment, but we're hoping to make it that way," he said.
Mileah Kromer, political science professor and Director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Baltimore's Goucher College, says Democratic victories in Annapolis as well as Frederick are significant.
"I really do believe the Democratic party looked at these two key races, the one in Annapolis and one in Frederick as a precursor to 2018. They wanted to make sure their base was engaged and fired up and ready to really take on the big contest which is the gubernatorial race," said Kromer.
Gavin Buckley will be sworn in as Annapolis Mayor on December 4.