Both parties see opportunity in Howard for 1994 ELECTION '92

November 05, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Howard County Board of Elections VOTING BREAKDOWN BY HOWARD COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICTS DISTRICT.. .. ..BUSH.. .. ..CLINTON.. .. ..PEROT 1st.. .. .. .. .37.2%.. .. ..44.8%.. .. .. .17.4% 2nd.. .. .. .. .46.7%.. .. ..36.2%.. .. .. .16.6% 3rd.. .. .. .. .27.5%.. .. ..57.4%.. .. .. .14.6% 4th.. .. .. .. .28.8%.. .. ..57.5%.. .. .. .13.1% 5th.. .. .. .. .48.5%.. .. ..31.7%.. .. .. .19.4% TOTAL.. .. .. ..38.7%.. .. ..44.4%.. .. .. .16.4%Staff Writer Staff writers Mark Guidera, Erik Nelson, Lan Nguyen, Jackie Powder and Adam Sachs contributed to this article.

In the Nov. 5 Howard section, a chart showing how each county council district voted in the presidential race had the incorrect district map. The corrected map with the vote totals is above.

The same story incorrectly characterized a statement by Carol Arscott, chairwoman of the Howard County Republican Party. Ms. Arscott does not believe that a third party will do well in the 1994 elections.

The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.

Howard County Democrats, battered in local elections two years ago, say President-elect Bill Clinton's victory here puts the party in good shape for 1994.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Republicans, who routed eight Democratic incumbents, aren't so sure. A closer look at the numbers gives them cause for optimism, they say.

"We lost nationally in an electoral college landslide," said Carol Arscott, chairwoman of the local Republican Central Committee.

But the county numbers "show tremendous residual strength in the Republican Party," she said. "We are very well positioned for 1994" when voters will be electing the County Council, the county executive, and General Assembly representatives.

Overall, the Howard County numbers mirrored results nationally with Mr. Clinton winning 44 percent of the vote to President Bush's 39 percent. Texas tycoon H. Ross Perot garnered 16 percent.

Other Democrats fared far better. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and 3rd District Congressman Benjamin Cardin led the ticket with 67 percent of the vote, followed by 6th District Congressional Challenger Tom Hattery.

Mr. Hattery, who lost to Roscoe Bartlett when returns outside the county were tallied, polled 54 percent of the vote here. By contrast, Mr. Clinton polled only 40 percent of the vote in Mr. Hattery's precincts.

Mr. Clinton was beaten badly in Ellicott City, Elkridge and in the western part of the county where he lost all but two precincts. He more than made up for that in Columbia where he out-polled the president and Mr. Perot combined in 29 precincts, winning 57 percent of the vote.

Mr. Bush won a clear majority in only 11 of the county's 70 precincts. Even though he swept every precinct in the 5th council district, the best he could muster was 49 percent of the vote.

Mr. Perot kept Mr. Bush at bay in western Howard County. Mr. Clinton could win no more than 32 percent of the vote there, but it was Mr. Perot's best showing -- 19 percent of the vote.

Ms. Arscott said a lot of the Perot voters are really Republicans who will return to the fold in 1994.

These people are not fiscal liberals, she said. "We will move to get them back. Clearly, this was a referendum on the national economy."

Perot voter Mary Buonamico, of Columbia, a Republican, said she was "torn until the last minute" between Mr. Bush and Mr. Perot. "A message has to be sent that the system must change," she said.

Her husband, Nicholas, a self-described "hard-core Republican," said he seriously considered abandoning Mr. Bush for Mr. Perot but decided to stick with the president because of his experience. "The race was not who you liked more but who you disliked least," he said.

Sue Ellen Hantman, chairwoman of the local Democratic Central Committee, agreed that yesterday's voting patterns suggest Perot voters could later align with Republicans.

"We've got our work cut out," she said, "but we've also got momentum at this point. People realize that the focus has to be different. I can't remember a campaign like this -- the excitement, the commitment, the hard work that was there. Some things will happen in Washington that people will want to see. It will have an effect locally."

Columbia resident Jesse Feinman, 47, doesn't know whether things will happen in Washington the way he wants or not, but he voted for Mr. Clinton to find out.

"If we elect a Democrat, he can either put up or shut up," Mr. Feinman said. "At least this way, Democrats can't point their finger at the president, and the president can't point his finger at Congress. They'll have to take responsibility. If they can't do the job in the next four years, they should be voted out."

Ellicott City attorney James B. Kraft, Democratic party campaign coordinator for the county, still saw much to celebrate.

"We pretty much know how Republicans are going to vote" outside of Columbia, Mr. Kraft said. "What is significant is the change in the percentage by which we lost" in council districts two and five. "We lost 4 to 1 in 1990, but we only lost 2 to 1 in this election.

"The new Democratic party is attracting voters among independents and bringing back Democrats who voted Republican. This is the first time since 1964 that a Democratic presidential candidate has won in Howard County. It says that people are giving the Democratic party a second look."

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