Endorsements for Courthouse Races

August 30, 1994

Nearly one-third of the races on Carroll County's Sept. 13 primary ballot involve elective offices at the courthouse. In many states, elected officials fill these positions with their cronies. In Maryland, voters have the opportunity to select the people for these often overlooked public offices that include positions such as Register of Wills, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Orphans Court judge. Although these are considered to be "the bottom of the ballot" races, a number of them are hotly contested this year, particularly in the Republican primary.

Two Republicans are running for the Clerk of the Circuit Court nomination. Larry W. Shipley, the incumbent clerk, is being challenged by Diane O'Leary. We endorse Mr. Shipley for the nomination. In terms of serving the public and the needs of the courts, Mr. Shipley has done a fine job. The office is well organized and the clerks are extremely helpful. Phillip R. Miller is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination for Register of Wills, which maintains the files for wills and estates. Reese L. Starner, who has held the position for 27 years, is being challenged by Donald B. Sealing II. Although Mr. Starner has run the office efficiently with two deputies, we believe that Mr. Sealing, who is the deputy chief clerk for Carroll's Circuit Court, would bring fresh perspective to the management of the office, particularly in terms of automation. Suzanne W. Albert is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Each party can nominate three candidates for the position of judge of the Orphans Court. The three GOP incumbent judges are running for re-election along with a challenger, Dorothy V. Utz. The Sun endorses the incumbents, Walter T. Haines Jr., Albert W. Selby and Harrison E. Utz (unrelated). Three Democratic candidates -- John L. Barnes, Naomi Benzil and Robert E. Kersey -- are running unopposed and will advance to the general election.

For county sheriff, there is no race in either party for the primary. Incumbent GOP sheriff John H. Brown will face the Democratic nominee, Kenneth L. Tregoning, in November. With two strong candidates running, the general election campaign offers a real contrast to the rather subdued primary race for sheriff.

Tomorrow: State's Attorney endorsements.

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