Republican wins Frederick race

Holtzinger the victor in mayoral election, defeating better-known Democrat Young

Baltimore & Region


FREDERICK -- Republican political novice William "Jeff" Holtzinger defeated former Democratic Mayor Ronald N. Young last night, scoring his second surprising upset to claim Frederick's highest office.

Holtzinger, 41, a former city engineer, garnered 51.8 percent of the vote in defeating Young, who had been the city's mayor from 1974 to 1990 and knocked off incumbent Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty in September's Democratic primary.

"There's a big job ahead for us and all the aldermen," said Holtzinger, who appeared taken aback by his victory. Earlier in the day, Holtzinger had predicted that the better-known Young would win.

His cellular phone dead, Holtzinger learned he had won when Young stopped by a downtown restaurant where the Republican and his supporters had gathered. Young conceded, even though the final tally was not in, and offered congratulations.

"Jeff is a really outstanding young man," said the 65-year-old Young. "He has a monumental job now with the mess left behind."

Young and Holtzinger, who have known each other for years, took pride in their quietly courteous campaign. It was in sharp contrast to September's bruising primaries in which Holtzinger narrowly beat a veteran Republican alderman and Young handily dispatched Dougherty.

Little more than 30 percent of Frederick's 29,033 registered voters cast ballots yesterday, barely more than turned out in the September election that turned into a referendum on Dougherty's strong-willed personality - and politeness in politics.

Frederick voters appeared fed up then with the nonstop bickering between Dougherty and Republican aldermen at City Hall.

In council races yesterday, Democrats claimed three of the five alderman seats.

Holtzinger promised to work closely with them to create a leaner city government and find ways to stem rising taxes.

State politicians from both parties have watched the race closely for signs for the coming gubernatorial campaign in a city that has about 13,000 Democrats and 11,000 Republicans on the rolls. One of Holtzinger's last mailings featured him with Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

"The state party showed its strength," said Republican state Sen. Alex X. Mooney of Frederick. Nonetheless, he acknowledged some surprise at Holtzinger's victory, saying, "He had more support than people thought."

Young had an early advantage: He was a household name here, and he raised far more money - $100,000 compared with Holtzinger's $14,000. But Holtziner, a lawyer and civil engineer, pressed an anti-growth message that resonated with residents frustrated by crowded roads and schools.

"A lot of us are very concerned about well-financed development interests that come here but don't necessarily have our quality of life at heart," said Robin Duggan, 49, a software integrator who said he voted for Holtzinger yesterday.

Supporters of Young credited his experience. "He has been in there before; he knows what he's doing," said Roger King, 65, a retiree who has lived in Frederick for 16 years, after casting his ballot for the Democrat.

Holtzinger has said he wants to throw out the city's comprehensive plan for future development, saying it was bungled by Dougherty. He also plans to create more after-school activities for children and open police substations.

First, though, he has to move his family into Frederick. He resided until recently outside the city limits; he got into the race only after Dougherty's opponents threw out the residency requirements for mayoral candidates.

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