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 were giving 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 about a sixth of the 325 precincts reporting, 10 separate bond issues were winning approval by margins ranging from 13-to-1 to 3-to-1.

Incumbents, all Democrats, were also heading for 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 above 50 percent -- higher than most predictions.

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

In September's primary, final results were not available until after midnight because of problems getting the cartridges with vote tallies from some polling places to election headquarters downtown.

While the system appeared to fare better 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 on in the 100 block of McMechen Street. "I thought it was a disgrace," Robinson said.

Said election judge Robert Thieblot: "The custodians of this school really weren't on the job."

Incumbents sweep races

Voters citywide evidently thought incumbents were on the job.

In state Senate races, Ralph Hughes had a 10-to-1 lead over Republican challenger Melvin E. Stubbs in West Baltimore's 40th District; Joan Carter Conway was piling up a 7-to-1 margin over independent Nimrod Westcott Jr. in Northeast's 43rd District and George W. Della was coasting past Republican Edward Fowler by 3-to-1 in South Baltimore's 47th District.

In the House races, incumbent Democrats Timothy D. Murphy and Brian K. McHale had comfortable 4 to 1 leads 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 were ZTC running ahead of Republican Jeffrey B. Smith Jr. by better than 2-to-1.

A pair of official write-in campaigns -- one for the State House, the other for the court house -- also appeared to be falling 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 were getting between 28 percent and 38 percent of the vote to 2 percent for all write-in candidates.

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

Many uncontested races

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.

Pub Date: 11/04/98

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