DeGrange edges out incumbent senator Middlebrooks blames loss on heavy turnout from county Democrats

Election 1998

November 04, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Devon Spurgeon and TaNoah Morgan contributed to this report.

Glen Burnie Councilman James DeGrange toppled incumbent Sen. C. Edward Middlebrooks yesterday after a contentious fall campaign in which both candidates abandoned issues-oriented platforms to join in a volley of attacks.

With 29 of 39 precincts in District 32 reporting last night, DeGrange, a Democrat, had 52 percent of the vote, with Middlebrooks holding 48 percent, a difference of 690 votes.

"I ran because I wanted to help my community and continue community service," DeGrange said in a victory speech at a Democratic celebration at Michael's 8th Avenue, a Glen Burnie banquet hall. "This isn't about money. This isn't about being a big developer. We're looking to go to the House in January and make a difference in District 32."

With a $179,000 campaign dwarfing the $44,000 Middlebrooks spent, and backed by a controversial committee set up by the state Senate president, DeGrange unleashed a series of mailings in the final weeks of the campaign targeting the Republican's personal bankruptcy filing, political appointments and votes on tobacco issues.

Speaking to about 60 supporters gathered at La Fontaine Bleu, Middlebrooks conceded at about 9: 30 p.m.

"I don't consider this a defeat," the Severn resident said. "I think the voters spoke clearly. There was a heavy Democratic turnout. I am pleased with the vote we got."

Democrats outnumber Republicans among registered voters in District 32.

Countywide, Democrats appeared to have grabbed control of the State House delegation, voting in seven delegates to the Republicans' five, and three Democratic senators to the Republicans' one.

Incumbent Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a Democrat and senator since 1985, held a substantial lead over challenger Jacqueline J. Turley, a Republican running in her first race for elected office, for the District 31 Senate seat. With 20 of 42 precincts reporting, Jimeno, a State Farm insurance agent, had 69 percent of the vote to Turley's 31 percent.

In District 30, incumbent Sen. John C. Astle, a Democrat and helicopter pilot, was leading challenger Peter James DeNucci, a Republican and US Airways pilot, with 64 percent to DeNucci's 36 percent, with 10 of 46 precincts reporting. District 30 stretches from the Broadneck peninsula to Annapolis and South to Lothian.

Among the House of Delegates races, Republican candidates in District 33 were ahead of Democrats, who were looking to retain at least one seat in the heavily Republican district. With 11 of 46 precincts reporting, Republican incumbents Robert C. Baldwin of Crownsville and Janet Greenip of Crofton were joined by candidate David Boschert in the top three slots.

In District 30, Democratic challenger Richard D'Amato was the third highest vote-getter behind Democratic incumbents Michael E. Busch of Annapolis and Virginia P. Clagett of West River, with 10 of 46 precincts reporting. D'Amato was ahead of Republican incumbent Phillip D. Bissett.

In District 31, incumbent Victoria L. Schade was behind, with challenger Mary Rosso in the third delegate slot with 20 of 42 precincts reporting. Incumbents John R. Leopold, a Republican, and Democrat Joan Cadden were the top two vote-getters.

In District 32, political veteran Theodore J. Sophocleus appeared to have made a successful comeback, landing in the No. 2 slot with 25 of 39 precincts reporting. Democratic incumbent Mary Ann Love was the top vote-getter, and Republican incumbent James E. Rzepkowski had the third delegate spot, winning a second term. Incumbent Michael W. Burns, a Republican, appeared headed for a loss, along with Victor A. Sulin, a Democrat, and Betty Ann O'Neill, a Republican.

Pub Date: 11/04/98

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