Charles I. Ecker, a 61-year-old retired educator, won by a better than 2-to-1 margin last night in the Republican primary for the right to face incumbent Howard County Executive Elizabeth Bobo in the general election.
Mr. Ecker, a well-financed candidate who had the GOP establishment's support, defeated Gilbert E. South, a 54-year-old businessman who lost to Ms. Bobo in 1986.
Ms. Bobo was unopposed in the primary.
The only County Council members opposed in the primary -- Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, and Charles C. Feaga, R-5th -- were victorious but now must face new challengers in the general election.
Ms. Pendergrass garnered 57 percent of the vote in beating William C. Smith of Ellicott City and will face Republican Dennis R. Schrader of Columbia on Nov. 6.
Mr. Feaga narrowly beat John W. Taylor -- by 141 votes, with absentee ballots still to be counted -- and faces Democrat Susan Scheidt of Highland in the general election.
In a sheriff's race that was bitterly contested in the wake of revelations that two top deputies participated in Nazi mimicry on the job for years, incumbent Herbert L. Stonesifer lost in the Democratic primary to challenger Michael A. Chiuchiolo,
a retired county police lieutenant.
The other losers in the four-candidate contest were George W. Cunningham, a deputy sheriff in Baltimore, and Allen W. Kohler, a former county deputy sheriff.
The winner faces Republican Richmond C. Laney in November.
Only two legislative races were contested, and in one of them state Sen. Thomas M. Yeager overwhelmingly defeated Michael McGonnigal for the District 13 Democratic nomination.Mr. Yeager, who took 85 percent of the vote, will face Laurel lawyer Guy L. Harriman in November.
In the other contested race, Martin G. Madden and John S. Morganwon the GOP primary in District 13B, beating out Arthur Reynolds.
The winners will face incumbent Democrats William C. Bevan and Robert J. DiPietro.
Sandra H. French and Susan J. Cook were nominated in a non-partisan county school board vote.
In the GOP primary for state's attorney, Richard J. Kinlein, a former prosecutor, defeated Joseph Fleischmann and will face incumbent William R. Hymes in November.
Only 24 percent of the Howard County's 92,801 registered voters cast ballots, the election board said -- one of the lowest election turnouts in two decades.