All-GOP commission has strong mandate to lead

November 13, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Time will tell how the first all-Republican Carroll Board of County Commissioners in 24 years will work together, but

election results show voters wanted a GOP team.

The three Republican candidates won all but one election

district. Democratic incumbent Elmer C. Lippy won in Union Bridge, which has one precinct and 699 voters.

The Republican success in winning county offices mirrored the party's triumph in state and national races. Only one Democrat out of 16 running for office in Carroll districts won in Tuesday's election. Democrat Richard N. Dixon, a 5th District delegate, was elected to a fourth term.

Carroll has 14 election districts and 41 precincts. Of the 64,452 residents registered to vote, 44,426 did so. That put turnout at 68.93 percent, among the highest in the state, according to the county board of elections.

In the commissioner race, the margin between the top vote-getter and third-place finisher was only 693 votes.

Richard T. Yates of Eldersburg finished first with 24,013 votes, or 20.29 percent of the vote; Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown was second with 23,838 votes, or 19.75 percent; and Incumbent Donald I. Dell of Westminster was third with 23,320 votes, or 19.7 percent.

Mr. Yates' victory was his first political win. He ran for commissioner and lost in 1986 and 1990. Tuesday, he won three of the county's largest districts -- Freedom, which covers the Sykesville area; Woolery's, which covers the Finksburg area; and Berrett, which covers Eldersburg.

He also won the Franklin district, which covers the area north of Mount Airy on the western edge of the county and is Carroll's seventh-largest district.

Mr. Yates won his home precinct, Freedom 5th Precinct.

The only South Carroll district he didn't win was Mount Airy. Incumbent Republican Donald I. Dell of Westminster won there.

Mr. Dell, who was elected to a second term, also won in Taneytown, Middleburg, Uniontown, New Windsor and Manchester.

He won his home precinct, Manchester 2nd Precinct.

Mr. Brown won the Carroll district with the most registered voters -- Westminster, which has 13,718 voters. Mr. Brown has been the city's mayor since 1989.

He won his home precinct, Westminster 5th Precinct.

The three Republicans will begin their four-year terms Dec. 5.

In the past four years, Mr. Brown and Mr. Dell have been on opposite sides of several issues, including whether the county should start a garbage-collection system or raise its impact fee. Neither has been shy about sparring.

It remains to be seen how they will get along with Mr. Yates, who said he does not know either man well. Mr. Yates is a retired U.S. Department of Defense inspector who promised to use his experience to control government spending.

He also was the top vote-getter in the Republican primary in September.

Of the three Democrats in the race, Mr. Lippy finished with the most votes -- 17,302, or 14.62 percent of the total. He lost his home precinct, Manchester 1st Precinct, to Mr. Dell by three votes.

The loss was Mr. Lippy's first since beginning his political career on the Manchester Town Council in 1985. In addition to one term as a councilman, he served one term as mayor and one term as county commissioner.

"I'm not happy. It's much more fun to win," he said Tuesday.

Westminster City Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein finished second among Democrats. She received 16,632 votes, or 14.05 percent.

She retains her City Council seat; her term expires in May 1995.

"I was very honored to be part of this process. I support our new commissioners," Ms. Orenstein said.

She lost her home precinct, Westminster 2nd Precinct, to Mr. Brown by 114 votes. She was the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary.

Democrat Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh finished last in the race. The former two-term Carroll sheriff received 13,629 votes, or 11.51 percent.

He lost his home precinct, Westminster 8th Precinct, by two votes to Mr. Brown and Mr. Dell, who tied for the most votes there.

Mr. Sensabaugh said he is worried that the new board of commissioners will be unbalanced.

"It's a little bit scary. With no checks and balances, it's going to be all one way," Mr. Sensabaugh said.

The current board has two Republicans and one Democrat. In the past 24 years, Democrats controlled the board for one term -- from 1974 to 1978.

Other statistics from the board of elections show:

* Carroll County voter registration between the primary and general increased by 1,299 people, or 2 percent.

* The precinct with the highest turnout was Uniontown Precinct 1, with 73.62 percent. The precinct has 906 registered voters, 667 of whom voted.

* In addition to the commissioner race, Union Bridge also went against the Republican trend by supporting Democrats in these races -- state comptroller, U.S. senator and county sheriff.

* On the three constitutional questions, county residents voted to support the victims rights and Court of Appeals amendments, but voted down the mandatory retirement age for judges amendment.

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