Primary Day

Chatting outside Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School on Primary Day, Sept. 13,are Carl Stokes, left, and Odette Ramos, center, both 12th District Baltimore City Council candidates, and Caron Brace, of the Broadway East community. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda / September 14, 2011)

City Councilman Carl Stokes said he surprised himself with his wide margin of victory over Odette Ramos in Tuesday's Democratic primary race to represent Charles Village.

"It's much more than I expected, frankly," Stokes, an appointed councilman who was running for the 12th District seat, said on election night as he partied with Council President Bernard C. 'Jack' Young, who soundly defeated former Senator Theatre ownerTom Kiefaber.

With all Baltimore voting precincts reporting in the Democratic primary race, Stokes led Ramos by 49 to 23 percent, with Devon Brown at 12 percent, Jason Curtis at 8 percent and three others at 3 percent or less, in one of the city's most hotly contested races.

Ramos won several newspaper endorsements and was supported by City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and State Del. Mary Washington.

"I thought it would be a lot closer," Stokes said.

A closely watched rematch in the York Road corridor also fizzled. Fourth District Councilman Bill Henry, who beat Scherod Barnes in 2007, beat him again, this time 61 to 39 percent. And all of the other council members who represent north Baltimore won easily or were unopposed, including Mount Washington's Rochelle "Rikki" Spector in District 5, Sharon Greene Middleton, who represents some of Roland Park in District 6, and Clarke, whose 14th District covers much of north Baltimore.

The day's upset was in District 12, representing theHampden-Remington area, where politically connected challenger Nick Mosby defeated Councilwoman Belinda Conaway — possibly with third-place finisher Allen Hicks ofHampden playing a spoiler's role.

Conaway, the daughter of City Clerk of the Circuit Court Frank Conaway, drew fire for supporting development of a Walmart-Lowe's shopping center in Remington. Conaway also denied a blogger's well-publicized claim that she lived outside the district.

Mosby beat Conaway convincingly, 51 to 30 percent. Favorite son Hicks, former president of the Hampden Community Council, ran third with five percent. Henry Brim and Timothy Mercer each had 2 percent.

Hicks said he personally supported Mosby over Conaway because of Conaway's shopping center support and disputed residency. He said Mosby talked to him about getting out of the race, fearing that Hicks would deny him votes and possibly hand Conaway the election.

"He felt I was going to split the vote and allow her to get in. But really, I took votes away from Belinda," Hicks said.

Mosby was the "establishment" candidate, even though Conaway was the incumbent, Hicks said. He said Gov. Martin O'Malley came to the voting precinct at the Academy for College and Career Exploration in Hampden on election day to stump for Mosby.

Mosby and Conaway could not be reached for comment.

It was clear sailing in Charles Village for Stokes, who was appointed to Young's seat when Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake succeeded scandal-scarred Sheila Dixon as mayor and Young became council president.

If Stokes looked beatable during the campaign, it wasn't reflected in the vote totals.

"They gave me really good numbers," Stokes said. "I'm most proud that the community feels I've done a good job."

Henry expressed similar sentiments and said Barnes held a fundraising edge on him during the District 4 campaign to represent the York Road area, including Govans, Radnor-Winston, the Loyola University area and the area around the Senator Theatre.

"I feel validated that if you go out and do a good job and do what you're supposed to do as a council person, you'll do well," Henry said.

Earlier Tuesday, supporters of candidates toiled to get out the vote in north Baltimore, but apparently without much success on a primary election day marked by low turnout..

Former city school board chairman Jim Campbell, supporting Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, walked from house to house in Oakenshawe around noon. On one arm he carried T-shirts promoting the mayor's re-election bid; in his other hand he carried fliers with cutouts, so that they could be hung on doorknobs if residents weren't home. He also had a map showing the locations of registered voters that the mayor's campaign was targeting.