Carroll's Convoluted Message

September 15, 1994

Anyone looking for a theme from Tuesday's primary vote in Carroll County better keep looking. It is possible that the light turnout -- 43 percent of the registered Republicans and 38 percent of the Democrats even bothered -- muddled the message. It is also possible that a great deal of unfocused anger at public officials manifested itself in strange ways.

Voters are apparently ready to end Thomas E. Hickman's contentious career as state's attorney. After four terms, they seem to have given the GOP nomination to Jerry F. Barnes by the narrowest of margins. Linda Holmes, the Democratic nominee who ran unopposed, has a much better chance of winning if disaffected Hickman supporters bolt from the GOP and back her candidacy.

In contested legislative races, Del. Richard N. Dixon easily won renomination for the Democrats in District 5, an indication that not all incumbents are poison. Ellen Willis, who lost four years ago in the general election, received considerable support from the Democratic voters. Meanwhile, Phillip Deitchman, who landed the third spot, received nearly 2,000 votes less than Ms. Willis, indicating that his support is rather weak among his own party heading into the Nov. 8 general election.

Republican voters selected three party stalwarts to run in the general election for the House of Delegates. Nancy Stocksdale, a long-time party worker, received the largest number of votes, outpolling runner-up W. David Blair by 2,200. Joseph M. Getty squeezed into the third slot by less than 100 votes. The three GOP nominees will probably focus their attention on the weaker Democratic nominees, since Mr. Dixon is such a proven vote-getter.

For the state Senate in District 5, Cynthia Cummings, the Carroll County Education Association president, received 70 percent of the Democratic vote, but will have a formidable job in running against popular and well-financed GOP incumbent Larry E. Haines.

In the non-partisan school board race, Carroll's citizens split among those who favor the public school system's implementation of outcomes-based education -- incumbent Carolyn I. Scott and Carole M. Pecoraro -- and those who oppose it -- Laura Albers and Gary Bauer. In the general election, voters will select two of those four. The choice will be clear.

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