Maryland Politics: Light turnout early as Kamenetz starts on west side

September 14, 2010|By Arthur Hirsch | Baltimore Sun reporter

Baltimore County executive candidate Kevin Kamenetz put on the navy pinstripe suit, the black loafers, powder blue shirt and blue patterned necktie and headed out shortly before 7 this morning to begin his rounds of polling places. He planned seven stops from his home turf on the west side to the central part of the county in the 13 hours until the polls close and this phase of the campaign ends.

First stop Har Sinai Congregation as the polls opened at 7, minutes from Kamenetz's home in Owings Mills, then on to Fort Garrison Elementary School in Pikesville, where the county councilman stood out front greeting voters, who at about 9 a.m. were greatly outnumbered by poll workers.

"This traditionally has been one of my strongest precincts," said Kamenetz, 52, a lawyer who has served on the council since December, 1994. His chief opponent for the Democratic nomination, Joseph Bartenfelder, a former state delegate from the east side of the county, took his seat on the council at the same time. Bartenfelder hit nine precincts on the east side in the morning before heading over to the western part of the county.

"This is the precinct that got me elected in 1994, and they've been very supportive ever since," said Kamenetz.

So far, there were precious few voters to support anyone at the school on Woodvalley Drive, the location of two election precincts  one in a multi-purpose room, one in the cafeteria -- with a combined registration of more than 5,000 voters, the overwhelming number of them Democrats.

Les Townsend, a veteran election judge, said it looked like one of the lightest turnouts he'd seen , even for a primary.

"Usually there's a lot of voting in the morning," said Townsend. "I'm usually running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But not today."

As of 9:25, 231 Democrats and 26 Republicans had cast ballots in a precinct that tends to see high voter turnout, sometimes as much as 80-percent. The county Board of Elections was predicting a turnout of about 25 to 30 percent today.

On primary day, Kamenetz said "I try to touch base with as many voters as I possibly can. I don't take any breaks. "

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