Voters crowd city polls to re-elect incumbents, approve 10 bond issues ELECTION 1998

November 04, 1998|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Jacques Kelly contributed to this article.

Baltimore voters gave overwhelming support last night to proposals to allow the city to borrow $45 million for projects that include encouraging home ownership, renovating several schools and developing a regional library.

With all 325 precincts reporting, 10 separate bond issues won approval by margins ranging from 19-to-1 to 3-to-1.

Incumbents, all Democrats, won easy victories in the only six State House seats -- three in the Senate and three in the House -- being contested in legislative districts solely or predominantly in the city.

Spurred by a nip-and-tuck race for governor and a massive get-out-the-vote effort, turnout in the city was about 55 percent -- far higher than most predictions and above 1994's 46 percent showing.

Yesterday's election was the second in which the city used its new $6.5 million computerized voting system.

Even though there were long lines at many precincts when the polls were to close at 8 p.m., delaying the count, final results were available by midnight. That's a half-hour earlier than in September's primary, when problems getting the cartridges containing vote tallies from some polling places to election headquarters downtown delayed results.

Last night's results would have been tabulated earlier if not for technical glitches that delayed results from two precincts.

"I'm pleased," said city elections chief Barbara Jackson.

Determined to vote

While the system fared well yesterday, reaching the machines was not easy for everyone. Long lines slowed some, but Bolton Hill seniors Mary Mead and Shirley Robinson had to make two trips in their wheelchairs and wait for more than an hour in the cold for a janitor to open a handicapped-accessible entrance at Mount Royal Elementary-Middle School in the 100 block of McMechen St. "I thought it was a disgrace," Robinson said.

Incumbents sweep races

In state Senate races, Ralph Hughes won by 19-to-1 over Republican challenger Melvin E. Stubbs in West Baltimore's 40th District; Joan Carter Conway piled up a 7-to-1 margin over independent Nimrod Westcott Jr. in Northeast's 43rd District and George W. Della coasted past Republican Edward Fowler by 5-to-1 in South Baltimore's 47th District.

In the House races, incumbent Democrats Timothy D. Murphy and Brian K. McHale won by 5-to-1 margins over Republican veteran Anthony F. Forlenza and newcomer William W. Sheldon in 47A. The district's third House seat, 47B, is in Baltimore County.

In North Baltimore's 42nd, incumbents James W. Campbell, Maggie L. McIntosh and Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg ran ahead of Republican Jeffrey B. Smith Jr. by 3-to-1.

A pair of official write-in campaigns -- one for the State House, the other for the court house -- also fell far short.

In the center city's 44th District, Lisa Mitchell, a member of the prominent West Baltimore family, mounted a write-in campaign for a House seat after failing to get enough valid signatures to be put on the ballot as an independent. But Democratic primary winners Verna Jones, Ruth M. Kirk and Jeffrey A. Paige got between 26 percent and 37 percent of the vote, compared to 5 percent for all write-in candidates.

Similarly, incumbent Register of Wills Mary W. Conaway brushed aside the official write-in campaign of L. Ramona Moore, who lost the Democratic primary. Conaway garnered better than 99 out of every 100 votes.

The final tally of write-in votes by candidates' name won't be completed until later this week.

None of the citywide courthouse jobs were contested on the ballot in the overwhelmingly Democratic city, where no Republican has been elected in 35 years.

Twenty-five Democratic primary winners for state House and Senate seats didn't face ballot challenges in yesterday's elections.

Baltimore City

The following are the bond issues decided yesterday by Baltimore voters:

Question A: Community Development Loan $13 million To encourage home buying, demolish buildings and make other neigh borhood improvements

For: 90,159 Against: 21,398

Question B: Police Department Loan $1 million To construct a police academy in Coppin Heights in West Baltimore

For: 92,866 Against: 18,478

Question C: Economic Develop ment Loan $11 million To develop more parking down town and encourage commercial and in dustrial development on Howard Street, Fairfield and elsewhere

For: 87,581 Against: 23,692

Question D: Asbestos Removal Loan $1 million To remove asbestos in city-owned buildings

For: 94,626 Against: 16,149

Question E: Recreation and Parks Loan $1 million To reconstruct the Patterson Park Boat Lake and Druid Hill Park conser vatory

For: 106,089 Against: 10,802

Question F: Library Loan $3 million To develop the first of four planned regional libraries, in southeast

For: 111,800 Against: 6,782

Question G: Walters Art Gallery Loan $1 million To upgrade mechanical, electrical and fire systems at the downtown museum.

For: 88,598 Against: 24,987

Question H: Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Loan $1 million To improve acoustics, renovate the stage and make other improvements.

For: 82,059 Against: 28,977

Question I: Baltimore Museum of Art Loan $1 million To upgrade the interior and add storage and gallery space

For: 92,411 Against: 21,527

Question J: School Loan $12 million To renovate Lakeland Elementary/Middle; Mergenthaler Vo-Tech; and Cecil Elementary and to pay for structural improvements at various schools

For: 108,993 Against: 8,672

Pub Date: 11/04/98

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