Hyattsville’s 2022 mayoral race: Bhatt, Croslin and Schaible running
By Jon Donville and Kit Slack
On April 1, Vish Bhatt became the third candidate to register to run for mayor of the City of Hyattsville. Interim Mayor Robert S. Croslin filed first, on March 21, the day candidate registration opened. City Councilmember Danny Schaible (Ward 2) registered two hours before Bhatt. Candidate registration closed April 8.
Bhatt is a systems engineer working in data infrastructure; he lives in Ward 3. This is his first Hyattsville electoral campaign.
Both Croslin and Schaible hold degrees in landscape architecture and live in Ward 2.
Croslin, now a goldsmith by trade, has served as a city councilmember for more than eight years and was council president at the time of Mayor Kevin Ward’s death on Jan. 25.
Schaible, a longtime employee of the National Park Service, was first elected to the city council in 2019. He is the council’s vice president.
In-person voting will take place June 7 at the Hyattsville Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. During the month leading up to the election, residents can vote by mail, or deliver mail-in ballots to secure drop-boxes.
The city will send out ballots in the beginning of May to all residents who have registered by April 15. Residents can also register and vote in person on election day.
Prior mayoral races and campaign finance
Ward was elected mayor in 2021, with 1,861 votes. His closest opponent was Joseph A. Solomon, who received 1,020 votes.
According to three campaign finance reports filed with the City of Hyattsville in 2021, Solomon spent a total of just under $63,000 on his campaign. Ward spent about $12,400.
For context, the mayor’s salary is $16,000 per year.
The 2021 election, while not particularly close, was still much closer than the previous two mayoral elections, and the campaigns were much more expensive.
In 2019, Candace B. Hollingsworth won with 1,261 votes and spent about $2,000. She defeated Angela Kenny, who received 206 votes and spent $132.
Hollingsworth, who is now running to be Maryland’s next lieutenant governor, alongside gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler, served her first term as Hyattsville’s mayor beginning in 2015, when she ran unopposed and was elected with 1,000 votes.
Mail-in voting and election timing
The election is taking place later than originally anticipated. In a Feb. 1 letter, the city board of elections recommended a vote-by-mail election. The letter cited the success of prior vote-by-mail elections, and concerns about COVID-19 variants.
Previously, the city charter stipulated that special elections were to be conducted within 75 days of the vacancy opening. “It’s just not enough time to pull off a vote-by-mail election,” said City Clerk Laura Reams, mentioning a requirement that ballots be mailed 30 to 45 days before the election.
A Feb. 22 city council resolution amended the city charter and changed the amount of time required to fill any vacancy on the city council, or in the office of mayor, from 75 days to 140 days. The resolution will become effective on April 13.