Zimmer bumps Jones in primary

Carroll County

Maryland Votes 2006 -- The Primary Election

September 13, 2006|By Gina Davis and Laura McCandlish | Gina Davis and Laura McCandlish,SUN REPORTERS

Political newcomer Michael Zimmer and incumbents Julia Walsh Gouge and Dean L. Minnich emerged as the top three vote-getters in the Republican primary for county commissioner last night.

With all 46 precincts reporting, Zimmer, garnering the third highest vote total, narrowly defeated Commissioner Perry L. Jones Jr. for a seat on the three-member board. The primary featured a field of 10. The top three vote-getters move to the general election in November.

Jones blamed his fourth-place finish on inaccurate attack ads in local publications.

"When you ... look at all the trash that they put out in the newpaper last week, you're telling me that that's a fair race?" Jones said. "They were total lies that they put in the paper."

The three Democratic commissioner candidates - Dennis E. Beard, Vincent F. DiPietro and Richard F. Solomon - ran uncontested.

In a 2004 referendum, voters chose to elect five commissioners by district. When this year's General Assembly failed to approve a district map - and then the state's highest court ruled in June that three commissioners would be elected at-large - tensions escalated between the commissioners and the local seven-member legislative delegation.

The three incumbent county commissioners, all slow-growth moderates, frequently clashed with the county's more conservative delegation.

The seven GOP candidates challenging the commissioners campaigned against transfer taxes and high-density housing and for more industrial growth.

With a majority of state Senate District 5 precincts reporting, voters favored four-term incumbent Larry E. Haines for the Republican nomination. Haines, who led party activist Michelle Jefferson by a 2-1 margin, said his conservative views on social and fiscal issues swayed voters.

"The three incumbent commissioners endorsed my opponent, so it looks like they have very little political influence in Carroll County," Haines said late last night.

Jefferson blamed her defeat on low voter turnout, but said she made Haines more accountable.

"I don't feel bad," she said. "I made him spend money. I made him go out and listen to what the people were saying."

The result of statewide redistricting in 2002, Senate District 5 - formerly all within Carroll - includes portions of Baltimore County north of Reisterstown and Cockeysville.

Because no Democratic candidates filed to run for the seat, Haines will represent the district for the next four years.

Slightly more than half of the county's 105,058 voters are registered Republicans; less than a third are registered Democrats, according to the county Board of Elections.

The District 5A delegate race was the county's most crowded with seven Republicans seeking two seats in the General Assembly. Last night's results showed incumbents Tanya Shewell and Nancy R. Stocksdale won the GOP primary by a wide margin.

Hampstead Mayor Haven N. Shoemaker Jr. and school board member C. Scott Stone, both of Hampstead, were among the challengers in District 5A.

In a tight race for South Carroll's District 9B House of Delegates seat, incumbent Susan W. Krebs won with slightly more than half the vote over business owner Larry Helminiak.

Four years ago, Helminiak narrowly lost to Krebs in the same race. This year, Helminiak, a member of the county's now more conservative Republican Central Committee, challenged her with an anti-tax platform.

In the nonpartisan school board election, the six top vote-getters in the race for three open seats on the five-member panel were Gary Bauer and Patricia W. Gadberry - both incumbents - followed by George E. Maloney, Dave Roush, Barbara J. Shreeve and Eric M. Weber.

gina.davis@baltsun.com

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

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