While all of the candidates for Judge of the Orphans' Court will move on to the November general election, Tuesday's primary might have served as a barometer for the five hopefuls.
Incumbent Republican Carolyn Crouch received the most votes with 4,222, while Democrat Ed Cole Jr. received 3,416 votes, Republican Vincent Pantalone received 3,270 votes, Democrat Herbert Welch received 3,164 votes and Democrat Jack Beaston received 2,889 votes.
The three candidates with the highest vote totals, regardless of political party, will be elected in the Nov. 2 general election.
The main responsibilities of the orphans' court include the supervision of estates that go through probate, appointing guardianship of minors and their property, and conducting formal hearings in disputes over estates or guardianship.
The job requires about four hours of work each week and pays an annual salary of $5,500.
Carolyn Crouch was first elected to the three-member bench in the 2006 and is looking to win a second term.
Beaston sold his retail business a year ago and has been attending probate proceedings to get a feel for the process and the types of cases that come before the three-judge panel of the orphans' court.
"It is a very interesting job that the orphans' court oversees, one that can sometimes be heart-wrenching, but that is why we need confident individuals who can follow the established laws," Beaston said previoulsy.
Cole, a Democrat with 27 years as a county and state government employee, said the recent death of his parents sparked his interest in serving as a judge of the orphan's court.
"After going through the estate process with both my parents (who lived in Queen Anne's County) in the last two years, it renewed my interest in the position," he said.
Cole served a single term as a Cecil County commissioner after moving here in late 1986, but has been out of politics since losing that seat in 1994.
Retired tax law specialist Vincent Pantalone said that his legal and financial background would be ample background for a qualified orphans' court judge.
He moved to Cecil County, about nine years ago and has taught tax courses at both the University of Maryland, College Park, and Cecil College.
Welch is seeking a return to the orphans' court bench after serving one term on it 32 years ago. He said not all judges have extensive law experience.
"You have to remember that you are not a lawyer, so don't act like one," he said. "Ask for help when you need it and review your resources."