State Del. Thomas H. Hattery took an early lead last night over 13-year incumbent Beverly B. Byron in the 6th District Democratic primary, preliminary results showed.
Roscoe G. Bartlett, a retired Frederick teacher, inventor, researcher and home builder, was leading for the Republican nomination, early results showed.
Hattery, a businessman and farmer from Mount Airy, was consideredby many party leaders to be the most aggressive opponent Byron, 59, of Frederick, has faced in her career. None of her challengers has received more than 36 percent of the vote in the primary.
With partial results from 158 of the district's 216 precincts reporting, Hattery led. Hattery had 17,154 votes to Byron's 13,424. Byron was winning only in Garrett County.
Fielding Dupuy, Hattery's campaign manager, said, "The deciding factor in this race was the campaign Tom ran. The anti-incumbent sentiment was successfully harnessed by Tom. Tom ran a credible, professional campaign."
Hattery, 38, a delegate since 1983 and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, mounted a largely negative campaign against the conservative Byron. It was the second time he ran against her; in 1980, he finished a distant second.
With 158 of the district's 216 precincts, Bartlett, 65, had received 9,885 votes. He ran once before in 1982, and won the Republican nomination with 52 percent of the vote. He went on to lose in the general election to Byron, who got 74 percent.
Mike Downey, 65, ownerof a small satellite engineering and consulting business in Frederick, placed second.
Frank K. Nethken, 61, a one-time mayor of Cumberland, placed a distant third, but won Garrett County.
Hattery continuously criticized Byron for accepting a $35,000 pay raise last yearand accused her of being part of a Congress that "is sucking the blood from the American economy."
Byron fought back, saying Hattery should be held responsible for Maryland's high tax rate as a member ofthe House Ways and Means committee.
At the polls, sentiment to oust incumbents was evident.
Richard Leonard, 51, of Snydersburg, said he voted for Hattery. "I voted against Byron. She might as well bea Republican," he said.
Republican Doug Harrell, a Hampstead realestate agent and insurance salesman, said, "I will vote for Byron this fall. She does a swell job for the people she represents. She votes the way we want her to vote. She's a watchdog," he said.