Two Balto. Co. councilmen lose seats in primary

Two Baltimore County councilwomen survived primary challenges Tuesday while two other incumbents lost their seats.

Four of the council's seven members faced opposition in a primary election that had light voter turnout across the region. Councilman Todd Huff, a Lutherville Republican, and Councilman Ken Oliver, a Randallstown Democrat, both fell to challengers.

Democratic Councilwoman Vicki Almond prevailed in a challenge from Pikesville attorney Jon Herbst, and Council Chairwoman Cathy Bevins, also a Democrat, beat back opponent Jeff Beard.

Huff, elected in 2010, lost by a wide margin to longtime Del. Wade Kach in the District 3 Republican primary. Kach will face Democrat Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, a professor and schools advocate, in the November general election.

Oliver, a third-term councilman, was defeated by Julian Jones, an Anne Arundel County Fire Department division chief who lost to Oliver by 98 votes in 2010. Makeda Scott, a small-business owner, came in third. No Republican ran.

On the county's east side, a fierce fight had taken place between Bevins of Middle River and Beard, a General Motors employee and United Auto Workers representative, to represent District 6. Bevins will face Republican Jason Samios-Uy this fall. He was unopposed in the primary.

That race was especially negative at the end, when the candidates sparred over mailers in which Bevins noted Beard's 2007 DUI arrest, as well as charges in an unrelated incident that were later dropped.

"It's me and her going at it," Beard said hours before the polls closed, as he was campaigning at Seneca Elementary in Middle River. "The mudslinging — I can't wait for it to be over."

Beard said he lost 24 pounds from the walking he did during the campaign. "I'm tired," he said.

In Almond's race, development including the Foundry Row project that will feature a Wegmans at the former Solo Cup plant site in Owings Mills, was a hot-button issue. District 2 includes Pikesville, Reisterstown and parts of Owings Mills.

Herbst, who lost to Almond in 2010 as a Republican, switched parties and was backed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

"I'm proud that it was a clean race," Herbst said. "That's the way it should be. There's too much negative politics in some of these races."

Almond, a Reisterstown resident who won her seat in 2010, agreed the campaign was mostly cordial.

"Honestly, I expected it to be worse," she said shortly before the polls closed. "I thought it was quite civil for the most part."

Almond will now face Republican Rudy Stoler in the general election.

In the Dundalk area, Joe DiCara won in a crowded field of five Democrats vying to succeed District 7 Councilman John Olszewski Sr., who is stepping down this year after four terms.

In the fall, DiCara will face Republican Todd Crandell, a businessman and consultant who was unopposed.

After he voted at Norwood Elementary, Dundalk resident Aubrey Pinder, 68, a retired UAW representative, said the number of County Council candidates was so overwhelming that he had no enthusiasm for the race.

"They've buried Dundalk in this garbage," said Pinder, motioning to the election signs on the lawn. "They overdid it completely. Merritt Boulevard was a mess."

In District 1, which includes Arbutus, Catonsville and Lansdowne, Councilman Tom Quirk was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and will face Republican salesman Albert Nalley in the fall.

District 5 Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents communities that include Towson, Perry Hall and Parkville, was unopposed in the primary and has no challenger in the general election.

In the county executive race, incumbent Democrat Kamenetz, elected in 2010, easily defeated challenger Kevin Francis Marron.

Kamenetz will face either Tony Campbell or George Harman this fall. The race between those two Republicans was too close to call, and will go to absentee ballots.

Campbell, a political science professor at Towson University, once served as chairman of the county Republican Party. Harman is a retired program manager for the state Department of the Environment and is now a part-time environmental consultant.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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