Courthouse races in Howard Sun endorsements: Cole for Circuit Court clerk for Democrats

Hartleb for register of wills for GOP.

September 09, 1998

THERE ARE ONLY two contested primaries for elected courthouse jobs in Howard County. Two Democrats are battling for their party's nomination to oppose clerk of the Circuit Court, Margaret D. Rappaport. And the incumbent register of wills, Kay K. Hartleb, has one opponent in the GOP primary.

Voters must wait until the general election to express an opinion on the performance of Republican State's Attorney Marna McLendon. She has no primary opposition but will face Democrat Timothy J. McCrone on Nov. 3.

Incumbent Orphans' Court Judges Charles M. Coles Jr. and Joyce Pope are not being challenged in the Republican primary. James R. Patterson is running for the third position on the GOP ballot. Paul L. Bush, John W. Higgins and Sharae M. McNeal are unopposed for the three spots on the Democratic ballot.

Two-term Sheriff Michael Chiuchiolo isn't running for re-election. Chief Deputy Charles M. Cave has no opponent in the Republican primary for that job, nor does G. Russell Walters on the Democratic side.

Like Orphans' Court judge, register of wills is a job few people think about until a death in the family requires settlement of an estate. Larry G. Fales, a risk analyst for the Maryland Housing Fund, is running against Ms. Hartleb in the GOP primary. The winner will face Democrat Patricia S. Gordon.

Mr. Fales says he would do more to educate the public about estate planning. But Ms. Hartleb is the better candidate.

She worked in the office nine years before becoming register of wills 12 years ago. She has made sure the office is efficient, friendly and technologically up-to-date. For example, she published an instructional booklet for consumers on the probate process.

The Circuit Court clerk oversees about 35 employees in an office that processes court cases, issues permits and licenses, BTC manages deeds and land records and conducts courthouse weddings.

Vying to oppose Ms. Rappaport, the two-term Republican incumbent, are Democrats Leslie J. Cale and Matthew G. Rybcznski.

Ms. Cale, a court reporter, and Mr. Rybcznski, an occasional actor who works for a title abstracting company, both believe morale problems in the clerk's office hamper efficiency. But Ms. Cale, who also ran for clerk in 1994, wold be the better nominee. She has spent 20 years working in the county legal system. Serving as court reporter with three different judges has given her valuable insight.

Tomorrow: Howard County Board of Education

Howard County courthouse races

Clerk of Circuit Court: Democrats Leslie J. Cale and Matthew G. Rybcznski. Republican Margaret D. Rappaport is unopposed. Salary: $63,500; Term: four years.

State's Attorney: Democrat Timothy J. McCrone and Republican Marna McLendon are unopposed. Salary: $88,400; Term: four years.

Register of Wills: Republicans Larry G. Fales and Kay K. Hartleb. Democrat Patricia S. Gordon is unopposed. Salary: $61,000; Term: four years.

Sheriff: Democrat G. Russell Walters and Republican Charles M. Cave are unopposed. Salary: $50,000; Term: four years.

Orphans' Court Judge: Democrats Paul L. Bush, John W. Higgins and Sharae M. McNeal. Republicans Charles M. Coles Jr., James R. Patterson and Joyce Pope. Salary: $6,728; Term: four years.

Data: 1994 primary turnout: 72% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans.

Pub Date: 9/09/98

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