Bobo, Sigaty appear to win primary in Howard

Fight over downtown Columbia remake at issue

September 14, 2010|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

Both Del. Elizabeth Bobo and Howard County Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty appear to have won their West Columbia Democratic primaries, according to early returns.

"I would have liked to have seen Alan win, and he didn't," Bobo said about Alan Klein, the man she had supported in his bid to unseat Sigaty over their dissatisfaction with the plan to redevelop central Columbia over the next three decades.

"I thought he had a reasonable chance," Bobo said after arriving at Democratic headquarters in East Columbia shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Sigaty guided the 30-year General Growth Properties redevelopment plan intended to spark a rebirth of Columbia to unanimous adoption by the council in February. Klein, a former supporter, and Bobo insist the approved zoning would allow too many new homes and ensure unbearable congestion.

In the results from Maryland's first experiment with early voting, Bobo received 85 percent of votes while Sigaty got 63 percent, indicating that many voters favored both incumbents.

"I lost by 36 votes eight years ago," Sigaty said Tuesday morning, recalling her narrow 2002 primary loss for the same County Council seat to Ken Ulman, now a strong ally and county executive. "I am always nervous going into an election," Sigaty said as she stood outside Wilde Lake High school waiting for scarce voters.

Bobo faced a primary challenge from former Republican John Bailey, a high school teacher and business advocate who backed the downtown plan and agreed with Sigaty. He switched political parties to attack Bobo. The winner will face Republican Robert Wheatley.

There was no primary in either party for the county's top job, which allowed incumbent County Executive Ulman, a Democrat, to lend strong support to Sigaty's re-election battle in council District 4. He now faces Republican Trent Kittleman, a former Ehrlich administration transportation official, in the general election.

Howard Democrats now must try to fend off a trio of Republican former Ehrlich administration leaders. In addition to Kittleman, former delegate and state transportation secretary Robert L. Flanagan and former homeland security director Dennis R. Schrader are trying to wrest council seats from incumbents in November.

Republican voters chose from among two state Senate candidates and three of the four state delegate hopefuls in District 13, covering southeastern Howard. Voters in Elkridge joined those in Arbutus and Lansdowne in Baltimore County's District 12A to pick two delegate candidates from the four people running.

Howard also has an elected, nonpartisan school board with four seats available this year. Voters narrowed the field from 11 to eight in the primary. With about 20 percent of the precincts reporting, incumbents Sandra French and Frank Aquino were the leading vote-getters.

Baltimore Sun reporter Joe Burris contributed to this article.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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