GOP offers tough races Most Republican incumbents face primary challenges

Few Democrats opposed

18 candidates crowd ballots for commissioners' posts

September 15, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

Despite predictions of a poor voter turnout, today's Carroll County primary promises plenty of excitement -- but only for Republicans running for local offices.

The few Democrats seeking local office are largely unopposed.

And two-thirds of the candidates running for school board -- six of nine -- will advance to the Nov. 3 general election.

Carroll voters will choose candidates in 17 races ranging from governor to partisan central committees.

Political careers are on the line in at least three GOP races -- sheriff, county commissioner and the House of Delegates in District 5.

Intra-party competition is so fierce that every GOP incumbent except state Sen. Larry E. Haines in District 5 and Carroll State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes faces primary opposition. Haines and Barnes are also unopposed in the general election.

Today, however, GOP incumbents face challenges for state Senate and House of Delegates seats in District 4 and for three minor court offices: Circuit Court clerk, register of wills and judge of Orphans' Court. But it is the sheriff, County Commissioner and eastern Carroll delegate races that give this primary its glamour -- especially the sheriff's race.

Two-term incumbent John H. Brown has generated headlines the past four years by requiring Detention Center inmates to wear black-and-white-striped uniforms and seeking to house inmates in tents guarded by a citizen posse.

For Brown, those actions bear witness to his campaign slogan of being "tough on criminals."

For challenger Kenneth Tregoning, a state police lieutenant who commands the Frederick barracks, the actions are "gimmicky."

The sheriff "has lost a lot of credibility and public confidence in his ability to mange his office with professionalism and integrity," said Tregoning, whose campaign slogan is "Let's fix it."

Today's primary battle is a rematch of their general election duel four years ago, when Tregoning, running as a Democrat, lost to Brown by 2,403 votes.

Westminster Republican W. Benjamin Brown, who was twice elected mayor of Westminster before winning a seat as a county commissioner in 1994, could be risking his political future in a tough, five-person race for three General Assembly seats in District 5.

The race includes two incumbents, Dels. Joseph M. Getty of Manchester and Nancy R. Stocksdale of Westminster, and challengers W. David Blair of Manchester and Carmen Amedori of Westminster.

Blair finished second in the primary four years ago but lost in the general election. Amedori emerged as a political force after spearheading a successful campaign to keep Carroll from switching to a county executive-county council form of government.

In the county commissioner race, 18 candidates -- 14 Republicans and four Democrats -- are running, including GOP incumbents Donald I. Dell of Westminster and Richard T. Yates of Eldersburg.

The nonpartisan school board race includes two incumbents, Gary W. Bauer and board President C. Scott Stone, both of Hampstead, among the nine nominees. The top six vote-getters will advance to the general election, in which the field will be narrowed to three winners.

Democratic voters also will be choosing nine women and eight men from among 21 candidates to serve on the local Democratic Central Committee. Republican voters will elect nine of 13 candidates to the local Republican Central Committee.

Pub Date: 9/15/98

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