County Councilman Frederick J. Hatem, D-District F, won his first election Tuesday by beating Arthur H. Helton of Churchville for the Democratic nomination for council president.
Hatem, a semi-retired doctor appointed to the council three years ago, garnered 10,566 votes, or 52.1 percent of the total, compared to 8,155 votes, or 40.2 percent of the total, cast for Helton.
Hatem, 63, will face incumbent council President Jeffrey D. Wilson, a minister, in the general election.
During the primary campaign, Helton, 52, a former state senator and council member, criticized Hatem as lacking in leadership.
But, Hatem, of Havre de Grace, said he had demonstrated leadership through his work with community groups and medical societies.
In addition to running a more aggressive campaign, Helton also spent more on the race than Hatem.
Helton raised more than $40,000, including a personal loan of $10,000 he made to the campaign, say campaign finance reports filed with the Board of Supervisors of Elections in Bel Air.
Hatem raised more than $16,000 for the race, campaign finance reports say.