Judges and challengers wait for verdict in Baltimore County

March 03, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

THE INCUMBENT JUDGES — Four Baltimore County Circuit Court judges and their two challengers awaited primary election results last night that would determine if they would be forced to continue their aggressive campaigning through November, or if they would soon be able to turn their full attention back to the law.

The incumbent judges - Vicki Ballou-Watts, Dana M. Levitz, Susan M. Souder and John G. Turnbull II - were hoping to avoid a general election. In the past two elections, a challenger has knocked off one of the sitting judges in the general election, a significant shift from the days when Baltimore County judges glided into office uncontested.

Challengers Brenda A. Clark, a longtime Baltimore County lawyer, and David Saltzman, a retired city lawyer, were hoping to force that longer race, if not win altogether.

As of shortly before 10 p.m., the sitting judges were showing strong leads with about 13 percent of precincts reporting.

Judges are appointed by the governor but must win election to secure their 15-year terms. As nonpartisan candidates, they run in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. The top vote-getters in both primaries - this year, the top four - go on to the general election.

Levitz and Turnbull both were appointed to the bench in the mid-1980s and then voted into their first 15-year terms. Souder and Ballou-Watts were appointed to the bench by former Gov. Parris N. Glendening in 2002; this marks the first time they stood for election.

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