Sophocleus carries Democratic vote for executive PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS 1994

September 14, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

A photograph caption in yesterday's Anne Arundel edition of The Sun misidentified the woman with Democratic County Executive candidate Theodore J. Sophocleus. The woman is Sheryl E. Banks, winner of the District 30 Democratic Central Committee race.

The Sun regrets the errors.

State Del. Theodore J. Sophocleus won the Democratic nomination for county executive yesterday, and will face the Republican nominee, state Del. John G. Gary, in the Nov. 8 general election.

Cheers swept through Mr. Sophocleus' Glen Burnie headquarters about 9 p.m. as the results from two Crofton precincts -- the hometown of rival Robert Agee -- came in. Mr. Sophocleus had won both.


"That's Agee's home territory and when you take the man's home territory, it's all over for him," said county police Cpl. Gordon March, a Sophocleus volunteer, a short while later at Mr. Sophocleus' victory party.

With all 155 precincts reporting last night, Mr. Sophocleus had won 49 percent of the vote; Mr. Agee, 29 percent; H. Erle Schafer, 11 percent; Larry Walker, 7 percent; and Louise Rothchild Beauregard, 4 percent.

Mr. Gary was unopposed in the GOP primary.

Mr. Agee telephoned Mr. Sophocleus about 10 p.m. to concede. "I told him, 'It was a good campaign. I have no problem with you,' " he said a few minutes later at his Crofton headquarters.

Mr. Sophocleus said Mr. Agee "is going to go away for a few days to take care of family business, then we are going to sit down and talk about the upcoming election and how we are going to win it."

Going into election night, Mr. Sophocleus was widely considered the front-runner. The Linthicum resident and former county councilman won the nomination in 1990 and had the support of other elected Democrats in North County and Annapolis.

Mr. Sophocleus, a pharmacist, also received endorsements from the Sierra Club, the county teachers union, the AFL-CIO and the Anne Arundel Voters for Environmental Justice committee, a registered lobbying group representing local environmental and social activists.

His campaign has had to overcome his 1989 vote on the County Council to sweeten his and his wife's county pensions. Mr. Sophocleus, 55, and his wife, who served as his paid legislative aide, began drawing about $900 a month when he left the council in 1990.

The strongest challenge appeared to come from Mr. Agee, vice president of Chaney Enterprises, a sand and gravel company based in Southern Maryland. The Crofton resident was chief aide to former County Executive O. James Lighthizer and had the support of many elected and former elected Democrats in Glen Burnie, Annapolis and West County.

However, Mr. Agee had to overcome a large gap in public recognition and often has been linked with the free-wheeling reputation of the Lighthizer years. At the start of the campaign, Mr. Agee said one of his biggest tasks was to prevent the election from becoming a referendum on Mr. Lighthizer.

Bruce Galloway, Severna Park resident and Agee volunteer, said many voters outside the polls at Jones Elementary School complain about his candidate's connection to Mr. Lighthizer. "They'd say, 'Agee? Lighthizer? Who needs it?' "

Mr. Gary, a Millersville drapery maker and sometimes residential developer, said he would rather face Mr. Sophocleus because he has a voting record.

He said he would attempt to link Mr. Sophocleus negatively to the policies of the Lighthizer administration.

"The whole thing comes down to who do you trust with your government," Mr. Gary said at his victory party in Annapolis last night. "Do you trust people who spend money like water?"

Mr. Sophocleus said he would continue to stress his primary campaign themes in the general election. "We will put our many programs against [Gary's] programs," he said last night.

Although Mr. Gary entered the race last December and Mr. Walker announced his campaign in January, most of the Democrats did not enter the race until this summer. By contrast, most of the candidates four years ago had been campaigning for several years leading up to the primary.

Mr. Sophocleus and Mr. Agee both said they hesitated jumping into the executive race for fear that County Executive Robert R. Neall would seek re-election.

Mr. Neall, who announced a retirement from politics last November, would have been considered a favorite in the race.

The delay prevented the candidates from raising or spending the hundreds of thousands of dollars on their campaigns and television advertising common four years ago.

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