Democrat Ulman wins nomination

Executive race set up against GOP's Merdon

council will have at least 4 new members

Maryland Votes 2006 -- The Primary Election

September 13, 2006|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN REPORTER

An election campaign destined to produce a new Howard County executive and at least four new County Council members began yesterday with what appeared to be an easy victory in the Democratic primary by Columbia native Ken Ulman in his quest for the county's top job.

With nearly all of the votes counted early today, Ulman, 32, who represents west Columbia on the council, had a more than 3-to-1 margin over Harry M. Dunbar, 62, who campaigned against development.

Ulman will face Republican County Council Chairman Christopher J. Merdon, 35, of Ellicott City, and independent C. Stephen Wallis, 56, a county middle school principal, in the general election. Merdon was unopposed in the primary.

"I'm really honored to have the support from the voters," Ulman said. "I'm really energized and excited about getting our message out to the voters in November."

Merdon had his own ideas, however.

"My plan is to spend the next eight weeks dealing with growth and development issues," he said, adding that he feels he's more of an advocate for county residents than Ulman is on the touchy growth issue.

Dunbar's anti-development campaign never caught fire.

Ulman sought support from Columbia's Democrats late in the campaign via a series of direct-mail advertisements in which he claimed credit for saving Merriweather Post Pavilion from being closed as part of a downtown Columbia redevelopment plan.

In primaries for the five-member County Council, Republicans fought a contentious battle over Howard's GOP-dominated western county nomination, where Greg Fox won over former county Police Chief Wayne Livesay.

"I feel good," Fox said. "We've still got until November. It's now about bringing the party together."

He refused to dismiss Democrat Don Dunn, despite a Republican advantage in voter registrations.

Novice Gina Ellrich won the Republican nomination in east Columbia's District 3 primary, leaving her to oppose Councilman Calvin Ball, a Democrat appointed to the seat in April and the only one of five members who could return to the council.

Democrats in Ulman's District 4 also fought a hard battle, with Mary Kay Sigaty showing a healthy lead over Joshua Feldmark. A third Democrat, real estate broker Jeffrey L. Underwood who used the name UNcommon on the ballot, ran a distant third.

"I just had a lot of people who worked very hard on my behalf," Sigaty said, adding that she and Feldmark have similar ideas about the district.

County Sheriff Charles M. Cave, a Republican, was about 1,000 votes behind James F. Fitzgerald, a career county police officer who is president of the county police union.

Voters of both parties whittled down a list of 14 school board candidates running on both primary ballots to 10 finalists for five open seats on Howard's elected board.

Candidates Paul Aliprando, Marcelino M. Bedola, Donald Byrd Marston, Jr. and Peter A. Sola appeared eliminated early today.

The five-member board is to expand to seven members in recognition of the county's growing public school enrollment.larry.carson@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Tyrone Richardson and Sandy Alexander contributed to this article.

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