All-Republican board of commissioners elected ELECTION 1994

November 09, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Mary Gail Hare, Amy L. Miller and Jackie Powder contributed to this article.

Carroll County voters elected an all-Republican commissioner board for the first time in 24 years yesterday, ousting a popular Democratic incumbent in the process.

Republicans W. Benjamin Brown, Donald I. Dell and Richard T. Yates were elected to four-year terms, with Mr. Yates finishing as the top vote-getter, results from all 41 precincts show.

Democratic incumbent Elmer C. Lippy, an almost tireless campaigner who touted his attendance record and fiscal conservatism while in office, lost his bid for a second term.

Democrats Rebecca A. Orenstein and Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh finished fifth and sixth in the race.

Results will not be final until Board of Elections officials count about 1,650 absentee ballots today.

Mr. Yates, 69, of Eldersburg received 20.32 percent of the vote. He impressed voters with his promise to stop growth if schools, roads and other facilities are crowded. His newspaper advertisements featured aerial photographs of farmland and wooded lots being cleared for development. He did not offer specifics about how he would stop residential development.

Mr. Yates is a retired U.S. Department of Defense inspector who has never held public office. He also ran for commissioner in 1990 and came in fourth.

"I worked hard, and if hard work dictates the results, I'll do all right," he said last night at a GOP celebration at Wilhelm Ltd. Caterers.

Mr. Yates said he had met almost 5,000 voters by campaigning door to door. He was top vote-getter in the Republican primary.

Since before the September primary, voters have said they wanted commissioners who would preserve Carroll's scenic countryside and quality of life while finding ways to accommodate new residents.

The field of six candidates was narrowed from 10 in the primary. The commissioner job pays $32,500 per year. Turnout in Carroll in yesterday's race was 66.6 percent, election officials said. Four years ago, in the general election turnout was 61.8 percent.

Mr. Yates edged Mr. Brown, Westminster's mayor since 1989, by 610 votes -- 23,236 to 22,626. Mr. Brown received 19.79 percent of the vote.

Mr. Brown, 50, a former candy store owner, said last night that he wished he could start his new job today. "Voters were concerned with growth and looking for candidates willing to talk about it and address specifics. I intend to follow up the rhetoric with action," he said.

Mr. Dell, 69, a Westminster dairy farmer elected to a second term, was the low vote-getter among Republicans with 19.68 percent, or 22,502 votes. In 1990, he was the top vote-getter in the race with 20,919 votes. Mr. Yates placed fourth in that race.

Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in Carroll by 3,848 voters, according to the Board of Elections. There were 64,455 residents eligible to vote in yesterday's election, including 31,438 Republicans and 27,590 Democrats.

The last all-Republican commissioner board was elected in 1970.

As the strong Republican showing yesterday became evident, groans filled Frisco Family Pub where Democrats had gathered to hear election returns.

"I think what it says is most Carroll Countians were taken with Ellen Sauerbrey's promise of a 24 percent tax cut, and I think a lot of people just voted down the line Republican. Clearly we've got a lot of work to do," said L. Gregory Pecoraro, chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.

Mr. Lippy, 74, a retired chemist and former Manchester mayor, received 14.57 percent of the vote.

Ms. Orenstein, 52, who is serving her first term as a Westminster City councilwoman, received 14.07 percent of the vote. "I was very honored to be a part of this process. This is a great county," she said.

Ms. Orenstein was the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary. She owns a photography business and works with developmentally disabled people at The ARC of Carroll County.

Mr. Sensabaugh, 67, a former two-term county sheriff, received 11.5 percent of the vote in yesterday's race.

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