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Polls close in primary elections as Howard County voters narrow crowded fields

After months of campaigning and a long day of voting, the polls have closed and only one question remans for Howard County residents: Who won?

Polls across the county and Maryland opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday for Maryland’s primary election and closed atl 8 p.m.

For Howard County, the election June 24 marks  the end of a particularly eventful primary season, in which four incumbents are retiring and four were seeking new seats.

The county had two homegrown candidates at the top of the ballot: County Executive Ken Ulman is a Democratic contender for lieutenant governor, alongside current Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, and Boyd Rutherford, a lawyer and former secretary of general services for Gov. Bob Ehrlich, is running for lieutenant governor with GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan.

In District 12, newly redrawn in 2012 to include both Howard and Baltimore counties, from Columbia to Catonsville, the retirement of all three incumbent delegates left a vacuum, particularly on the Democratic side, where 10 candidates ran for a chance to serve in Annapolis. The three Republican candidates for a House seat in the district will all move on to the general election.

District 12 state Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, who has represented the district since 1987, with a four-year break between 1991 and 1995, does not have any primary challengers. In November, he will run against Republican Jesse Pippy, a business manager for regional automotive dealer Mile One. 

For the first time this election, most Ellicott City residents voted for a candidate in Howard County’s newest single-member district, 9B. There was a primary on both sides, with two Republican and two Democratic candidates to choose from. The two Republicans were Carol Loveless, owner of a small security business, and former state transportation secretary and delegate Bob Flanagan. Democrats had a choice between Tom Coale, an attorney, blogger and former CA member and Rich Corkran, a longtime math teacher and Democratic Central Committee alternate.

Democrats had their eyes on the District 9 Senate seat, which current state Sen. Allan Kittleman, a Republican, left behind to run for county executive and which the party targeted in an effort to expand its influence in the county in 2014. The winner of the Democratic race between media business owner Daniel Medinger and Ryan Frederic, owner of an aerospace security and research firm, will face Republican Gail Bates, who has represented District 9A in the House of Delegates since 2002, in the general election.

In District 9A, five Republicans, including incumbent Warren Miller, were running to represent Howard’s two most conservative House seats. Other contenders were Trent Kittleman, former Maryland Transportation Authority head and stepmother of county executive candidate Allan Kittleman, W.R. Grace & Co. sales director Kyle Lorton, Carroll County resident Christopher Eric Bouchat, who owns a welding company in Baltimore, and self-employed landscape architect Frank Mirabile.

The two Democratic candidates, Wally Carson and Ward Morrow, both attorneys, will advance to the general election.

In District 13, incumbent delegate Guy Guzzone, a Democrat, is running to replace retiring Sen. Jim Robey. He faced no primary competition but will be up against North Laurel auditor Jody Venkatesan in November.

District 13’s two remaining House incumbents, Frank Turner and Shane Pendergrass, faced a primary challenge with three newcomers in the race for the district’s three House seats. Turner and Pendergrass chose Fulton attorney Vanessa Atterbeary to join their “Team 13” ticket, leaving Columbia software business owner Nayab Siddiqui and Oakland Mills community organizer Fred Eiland to campaign on their own.

In November, the top three Democratic candidates will face Republicans Danny Eaton, a North Laurel resident, University of Maryland senior Jimmy Williams and Chris Yates.

At the Howard County Council level, none of the incumbents had primary challenges.

But in District 1, four Democrats and two Republicans were vying for Democratic Council member Courtney Watson’s seat, as she departed to run for county executive.

Consulting business owner Jon Weinstein, former Planning Board member Dave Grabowski, referendum activist Lisa Markovitz and former Planned Parenthood vice president of public affairs Wendy Royalty each hoped to clinch the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side, Kevin Forrest Schmidt, vice president of government relations for a Washington-based security firm ,was up against David Melton, a Fort Meade defense contractor.

In District 2, two Republicans were running to try to unseat incumbent two-term Council member Calvin Ball, a Democrat. In the primary, Republican voters had a choice between Oakland Mills Columbia Association board member Reg Avery and Ralph Colavita.

Although only registered Democrats and Republicans were allowed to vote for partisan offices in the state’s closed primary, unaffiliated voters could vote for the school board races. This year, 13 candidates, including two incumbents, were running for four open seats.

A “slow trickle” was how candidates for the Howard County Board of Education described Tuesday’s turnout as most of them spent hours upon hours at county polling sites.

“Even though it’s a light turnout, a higher percentage of that turnout is teachers, parents and their families,” Bess Altwerger said while greeting voters at Clarksville Middle School.

With early voting tallies posted at 8:20 p.m., Altwerger was one of eight candidates with an early edge in the primary.

Through early voting, the top 8 vote-getters were: Cindy Vaillancourt, Sandie French, Altwerger, Dan Furman, Zaneb Beams, Christine O’Connor, Allan Dyer and Olga Butler.

In Howard County, 9,248 voters participated in early voting, or 4.69 percent of the county's 197,348 registered voters.

In other local races, Baltimore City assistant state’s attorney Rich Gibson, a Democrat, was attempting to unseat current state’s attorney Dario Broccolino, who has served since 2007.

And longtime Howard County police officer John Newnan was running for sheriff against incumbent Jim Fitzgerald. Both are Democrats.

Check back throughout the day for election updates and results.

Blair Ames and Larry Perl contributed to this story.

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