Del. Mary-Dulany James built up a wide lead over Art Helton in Tuesday's primary election for the Democratic nomination to the state Senate race in Legislative District 34.

According to unofficial election results, James had 61 percent of the votes cast and an almost 1,700 vote lead over Helton.

James, a Havre de Grace resident, said Wednesday she is not surprised to win by a fairly wide margin. She is headed for a general election contest with former county councilman Bob Cassilly.

"Of course, I'm happy," James said. "I want to thank the voters and I have an incredible team of volunteers."

James attributed her victory also to making it out to every precinct over the course of the year.

"Nothing beats going out to meet people and asking them for their support," she said.

Helton said he was counting on a lot of voters, in poorer neighborhoods, that he does not believe turned out at the polls.

"I was disappointed in the turnout," he said about election day.

Cassilly didn't have opposition in the Republican primary.

The two will be vying in November to take over the seat left open by retiring Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Republican who has served four terms.

Both candidates for the Democrat nomination waged expensive campaigns. Helton, a businessman and former state senator, had loaned his campaign at least $370,000 according to his campaign finance reports.