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In 1982, Harry Hughes was governor of Maryland. Harford County Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti wasn’t yet old enough to get a driver’s license; Councilman Chad Shrodes was in elementary school.

In those days, “Capt’n Jim” McMahan was a morning drive radio personality and owner of WAMD-AM in Aberdeen, and a Democrat. These days, he’s a member of the Harford County Council and a Republican.

Also in 1982, Joseph I. Cassilly was elected to his first term as Harford County state’s attorney, the county’s chief prosecuting attorney. Very few people holding local elected office in those days are still in elected office, and no one holding local office is in the same office — except Cassilly.

Cassilly’s political longevity is hardly a mystery. When he was elected, he was a Republican in a county where most elected officials were Democrats, so he’s got a level of political savvy that comes from being both on the outside looking in and a ruling party insider.

Though not without critics — or faults — he’s consistently among the leading vote-getters, and rarely has faced opposition when running for re-election.

This week, Cassilly took the oath of office and began serving his eighth term. He says he won’t be running for state’s attorney in four years, but if he fills out his term, he’ll have served as the county’s chief prosecutor for 32 years.

Of course, there’s reason to suspect he might not serve the full four years of his new term: he’s made it clear he expects to take another oath for another office, and there are a number of positions, elected and appointed, he could end up with.

Regardless of how Cassilly’s career as chief prosecutor closes, and regardless of what you think of the job he’s done, he’ll have had a remarkable run by the time he’s done.

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