County Executive Habern W. Freeman had one strategy for winning the District 34 Senate race in which he somewhat reluctantly challenged his longtime friend and political ally William S. James.
"Victories in Havre de Grace and Bel Air," said Freeman after he successfully gathered 6,339 votes (including absentee ballots), or 52 percent, to boost him to victory. James had 4,739 votes, or about 39 percent.
"Senator James is a really top-notch guy, but we don't mind beating him," Freeman said.
Because no Republican filed for that office in the primary, Freeman's victory virtually ensures him of the office after the Nov. 6 general election.
Harford political party officials predicted the race between Freeman and James, who each conducted a low-key, low-budget campaign, would be close.
Donald C. Fry, who won in the District 35A House of Delegates race and who was until Tuesday chairman of the county's Democratic Central Committee, said earlier this summer that Freeman would be the front-runner because new county residents are unfamiliar with James' record.
About the only real surprise in the race was that James carried only one of the three Havre de Grace precincts, 6-01, by only one vote, winning 191 to Freeman's 190 votes. Freeman won 150 to 102 in Havre de Grace precinct 6-04, and 249 to 229 in Havre de Grace precinct 6-03.
The two men hold similar views on many subjects, with the exception of abortion. Freeman has supported the right to abortion on the recommendation of two medical doctors with guidelines concerning the health of the mother and the fetus. James favors the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which said that during the first trimester a doctor and patient could decide to end a pregnancy without interference by the state.
Freeman also campaigned on issues including the need for stronger enforcement of sediment-control laws. He opposed impact fees, favoring instead adequate public facilities laws that prohibit development if public facilities are overburdened.
James, too, campaigned on environmental issues, including agricultural land preservation.
"I've had other losses. I lost the first time I ran for election. It doesn't bother me much," said James. "I've had my day in the sun."
James was elected to the House of Delegates in District 34 in 1943. From 1946 until 1975 he was state senator from that district. In 1975 he became state treasurer and held that office until her retired in 1987.