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Murray tops Epps in school board primary, both advance to general

ElectionsColleges and UniversitiesRepublican PartyMitt RomneyUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyBarack Obama

When David Murray narrowly lost the District 1Prince George's CountyBoard of Education race to incumbent Rosalind Johnson in 2010, he didn't give up hopes of holding the seat.

In the months since his 998-vote defeat, Murray, a 20-year-old Bowie resident and University of Maryland Baltimore County student, has been trekking around Laurel and the rest of District 1 trying to drum up support for the primary.

Murray's efforts paid off, as he bested his challenger Zabrina Epps, a 40-year-old Laurel resident and academic advisor at the Community College of Baltimore County, by 25 percentage points and roughly 1,500 votes in the April 3 primary. Both candidates will advance to the general election in November.

"I'm extremely pleased, very happy," Murray said. "I didn't take it for granted. I worked for every single vote."

Epps could not be reached for comment after the results were announced. Interviewed while working the polls mid-day Tuesday, she said she "felt good" about the primary.

"I'm a newcomer, I've rallied support from city and state elected officials," Epps said. Among her supporters, she said, are Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, and she was recently endorsed by The Washington Post.

Murray earned 56 percent of the vote, Epps 31 percent and Mike McLaughlin, a Laurel resident who dropped out of the race too late for his name to be removed from the ballot, earned 13 percent.

Murray, who celebrated his primary victory that night at Ledo Pizza in Laurel, said he hopes the results are a sign of what's to come in November.

"It was a strong statement," he said. "With three people on the ballot, to get (more than) 50 percent is a pretty strong threshold."

Murray said his strong primary showing will motive him as he continues campaigning for the general election.

"I'm going to continue to reach out to a lot of people and expand my support," he said.

In addition to Murray, two other young candidates ran for school board inPrince George's County.

In District 8, where five candidates competed for two general election slots, 19-year-old incumbent Edward Burroughs, of Camp Springs, earned 67 percent of the vote. Like Murray, Burroughs, who won his seat in 2010, is a student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

In District 5, which also had five candidates competing for two slots, 18-year-old Raaheela Ahmed earned 34.5 percent of the vote, more than any other candidate, including incumbent and sitting school board chair Jeana Jacobs, who finished second with 25 percent of the vote. Ahmed, of Bowie, is a freshman at the University of Maryland College Park.

Other races

Overall, Prince George's County had about 15 percent of its eligible voters turn out for the primary. Nearly 10,000 of the roughly 74,000 who cast ballots in the primary voted early.

Prince George's CountyRepublicans, like their GOP counterparts statewide, chose former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as their favored presidential nominee.

Romney captured 46 percent of the primary vote in Prince George's, followed by Rick Santorum with 31 percent, Newt Gingrich with 11 percent and Ron Paul with 9 percent. State voters followed the same pattern.

President Barack Obama was unchallenged and earned 97 percent of the Prince George's County Democratic vote; the other 3 percent were uncommitted to any presidential candidate.

On both the Republican and Democratic ballots were party members seeking to become delegates to the national conventions. None of the four Laurel residents who sought to be delegates, or alternate delegates, to the Republican National Convention were selected by voters.

Delegates and alternate delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte Sept. 3-6, were pre-selected by the Obama campaign before their names were put on the ballot. Laurel resident Donna Smith, who lives in Anne Arundel County, will be attending.

Because of Congressional redistricting, most Laurel voters this election voted in District 4, where incumbent Democrat Donna Edwards, of Fort Washington, won her primary with 92 percent of the vote over George McDermott, of Forest Heights, and Ian Garner, of Suitland.

Pasadena Republican Faith Loudon emerged victorious in the District 4 Republican primary with 62 percent of the vote over Randy Gearhart, of Odenton; Charles Shepard, of Gaithersberg; and Greg Holmes, of Upper Marlboro.

Meanwhile, some South Laurel residents still voted in District 5, where incumbent Democrat Steny Hoyer, ofSt. Mary's County, handily beat his only primary opponent, Cathy Johnson Pendleton, of Laurel, with 85 percent of the vote.

Hoyer will be facing Calvert County Republican Tony O'Donnell in the general election, who won the District 5 GOP primary with 74 percent of the vote over David Hill, of Bowie, and Glenn Morton, of Largo.

Maryland's incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Baltimore Democrat, won his primary with 74 percent of the vote. State Sen.C. Anthony Muse, a Prince George's County Democrat, finished second with 16 percent; the other seven Democratic challengers all finished with less than 3 percent of the vote.

In the general election, Cardin will face Dan Bongino, of Severna Park, who bested nine other GOP challengers, winning 34 percent of the primary vote.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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