Ex-commissioner is victorious Gouge wins GOP primary in comeback try

Frazier, Dell also win

Absentee ballots could have affect on election results

Primary 1998

September 16, 1998|By John Murphy | John Murphy,SUN STAFF

Former two-term Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge was the top nominee in yesterday's Republican primary race, beating out a crowded field of 13 other candidates.

If last night's results hold after an absentee ballot count tomorrow, she will be joined on the Nov. 3 general election ballot by Republicans Robin Bartlett Frazier, former chairwoman of the planning commission, and incumbent Donald I. Dell, who finished second and third, respectively.

Incumbent Richard T. Yates, the top vote-getter in the 1994 primary, finished fifth behind Melvin Mills of Finksburg. Mills was 35 votes behind Dell last night.

Union Bridge Mayor Perry L. Jones earned the most votes in the Democratic primary, followed by Roger Larry Mann of Westminster and Maxine Carole Wooleyhand of Sykesville.

Yesterday's voter turnout of 29.6 percent was less than 1994, when 39.13 percent of Carroll's voters went to the polls. More Republican voters went to the polls in Carroll than Democrats, 35.84 percent to 28.45 percent.

Gouge won with 13.21 percent of the vote, followed by Frazier with 12.16 percent and Dell with 11.09 percent.

Democratic totals showed Jones with 27.85 percent. Mann received 26.5 percent and Wooleyhand received 25.26 percent.

About 500 absentee ballots, still to be counted, may change these results, officials at Board of Supervisors of Elections warned. The ballots are scheduled to be counted tomorrow at 10 a.m. in the Board of Elections office.

"I'm excited. I knew we were very close to the top," said Gouge, who said that going door-to-door during the campaign season proved effective.

"My first reaction was that I was amazed. I'm just a normal average, regular person that's why I'm so amazed," said an elated Frazier.

Carroll County Republican voters faced one of the most cumbersome elections in the state yesterday, sorting through a pack of 14 candidates for county commissioner. Democratic voters had fewer choices, with just four people running for commissioner.

The field of 18 candidates is nearly double the number that ran in 1994, when 10 candidates competed for three openings.

The three top vote-getters in the Democratic and Republican primaries will be joined by independent candidate Carolyn Fairbank on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Fairbank, a former Democrat, collected more than 2,600 signatures required to place her name on the ballot.

In Carroll County, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 38,247 to 29,831, Republican commissioner candidates have historically held the advantage in the general election. Three Republicans swept the commissioners' race in 1994.

In the weeks leading up to yesterday's primary, the commissioners' race was defined more by the number of candidates than the issues.

Democrat, Republican or independent, they all called for increasing economic development, controlling growth, combating drug use and improving the relationship between government and the public.

During candidate forums in recent weeks, it was difficult for the candidates to distinguish themselves. Some candidates suggested that voters should make their decision based on the character of those running, not only on their political platforms.

Most candidates made their pleas to voters in the streets, planting signs along highways and back roads, walking door-to-door and standing at busy intersections waving signs.

By the end of August, Republican Frazier had the largest campaign fund with $13,769 -- more than double what most of the other Republican candidates had raised. Incumbent Dell was second, with $11,343.

Among Democrats, Jones collected the most, $2,870. Mann and Wooleyhand both raised $1,500. Randy M. Reese, who has not solicited donations, reported no money in his campaign during the period that ended Aug. 30.

The 14 Republicans on the ballot yesterday were: Michael R. Baker, 59, of Westminster, a management consultant for St. Agnes HealthCare; Westminster Common Council President Edward S. Calwell Sr., 53, a self-employed training consultant and antiques dealer; John F. Curran Jr., 52, of Westminster, a former employee of the county's Department of Public Works.

Dell, 73, of Westminster, a retired dairy farmer and past president of the Carroll County Farm Bureau; Frazier, 38, who lives in Manchester; Gouge, 58, of Hampstead; James E. Harris Sr., 56, of Westminster, owner of Red Hill Landscaping and president of the West Carroll Republican Club.

Patricia Holbert, 41, of Westminster, a substitute teacher and vice president of the community group Residents Attacking Drugs; Melvin Mills, 56, of Finksburg, owner of Mills' Communications Inc. in Westminster; George William Murphy, 49, of Sykesville, a longtime civic activist.

Stephen Matthew Nevin, 37, of Finksburg, a former representative with Prudential Insurance Company of America; Betty L. Smith, 49, of Westminster, a part-time legal assistant and member of the Republican Central Committee; Harvey I. Tegeler, 45, of Westminster, president of Interstate Financial Services Inc. in Westminster and the South Carroll Republican Club; and incumbent Yates, 73, of Eldersburg, a retired federal government employee.

Four Democrats vied for three spots: Jones, 46, a mechanic in a family-owned auto service center and Union Bridge mayor; Mann, 49, of Westminster, a rental property owner and property manager; Reese, 32, of Hampstead, owner of a contracting company; and Wooleyhand, 55, of Sykesville, a retired day care provider and former member of Sykesville Town Council.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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