Harford Incumbents Sail Through

September 16, 1994

The anti-incumbent gale that blew through the Harford County elections four years ago was imperceptible in this week's primaries.

Six of the seven County Council incumbents are still alive for the November contest, the seventh declining to seek re-election. Still, there will be at least two new council members in the next term, as incumbents Joanne Parrott and Theresa Pierno battle each other for the chair of retiring Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson.

In the state legislature races, all Harford incumbents survived the primaries, most of them without opposition. But again, two current officeholders will square off in the general election: Democratic Sen. Habern W. Freeman is challenged by Republican Del. David R. Craig in District 34.

Sen. William O. Amoss, who's been in the Annapolis delegation since 1975, will face two opponents in November: Republican Gwendalynne Corkran and Independent Catharine Wilson, who collected the required petition signatures.

Sheriff Robert E. Comes emerged a clear winner against three Democratic opponents, despite two years of controversy over his oversight of the county jail. But for the first time in nearly four decades, the Democratic nominee will have to face a Republican challenger in the general election, assistant state's attorney Joseph P. Meadows.

In a charter amendment question, Harford voters will also decide in November whether to transfer the law enforcement authority from the sheriff's office to a county police force with a chief appointed by the county executive. Mr. Comes views the primary results as a sign of support for retaining that function in the sheriff's office, under his administration. Mr. Meadows argues that strong change is needed in the office, regardless of how voters decide.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann was unopposed in the Democratic primary and has so far done little campaigning while raising $200,000 for the political war chest. Republican challenger Ronald M. Szczybor, who also had no primary opponent, is pushing for public debates as a way to raise the profile of his candidacy and overcome the advantages of incumbency.

While incumbents may not be as vulnerable as they were in 1990, only one has managed to secure re-election at this point -- State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly, who ran uncontested in the Republican primary and has no Democratic opponent on the Nov. 8 ballot.

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