Connolly, McDonough win register of wills races High-profile positions go unchallenged in county courthouse races

Primary 1998

September 16, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

In the Baltimore County courthouse campaigns, the most hotly contested races were for some of the most obscure jobs, while higher profile positions -- including state's attorney -- went unchallenged in the primary.

In the race for register of wills -- a little-known, $75,000-a-year job being vacated by Peter J. Basilone after 20 years -- Democrat Grace G. Connolly defeated Bonnie Lou Leisure 71 percent to 29 percent. Connolly had resigned as chief judge of the Orphans' Court to run.

On the Republican side, Patrick L. McDonough, a former state legislator, defeated William J. Withers Jr., an accountant and employee in the Baltimore City court clerk's office, 79 percent to 21 percent.

The Orphans' Court, where three part-time judges preside over disputes involving wills and estates, attracted nine Democrats and six Republicans for three $30,000-a-year jobs that do not require a law degree.

Among other races, Court Clerk Suzanne Mensh, the longtime Democratic incumbent, defeated a challenge by political newcomer William T. Hill for her $64,500-a-year job, winning the contest 77 percent to 23 percent.

The Republican candidate in the general election is Kenneth D. Ridgeway II, who holds the No. 3 job in the Howard County Circuit Court as the assistant chief deputy clerk.

Republican Sheriff Norman M. Pepersack Jr. ran unopposed in the primary for the $70,000-a-year job overseeing a staff that makes 1,600 arrests a year and guards the courthouse.

On the Democratic side, Anne K. Stradauskas, a former deputy sheriff fired by Pepersack for allegedly failing to turn in her radio on time, out-polled three other Democratic challengers, pulling in 36 percent of the vote.

Those holding the more high-profile offices remain unopposed for both the primary and general elections.

Circuit Court Judges John F. Fader II and J. William Hinkel have been campaigning for nearly a year without opposition for their $108,000-a-year jobs.

And State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor is running unopposed for a seventh term in her $119,000-a-year position.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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