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Bowen likely to keep seat as Harford circuit court judge

With one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent memory in Harford County's primary election, appointed judge Elizabeth Bowen appeared to retain her Circuit Court seat and Sen. Nancy Jacobs resoundingly won the nomination for the Second Congressional district.

With about 74 percent of the Democratic vote and 54 percent of the Republican vote, according to initial results Tuesday night from the county's board of elections, with 76 of 79 precincts reporting, Bowen was winning the judicial race over challengers H. Edward Andrews and Steven Scheinin. If she wins both parties, hers will be the only name that appears on the general election ballot in November.

Bowen, appointed in January by Gov. Martin O'Malley, said from her headquarters at lawyer Joe Snee's office on Bel Air's Main Street that she was "delighted" to hear of the early results.

"I am very hopeful. I had an amazing group of folks working with me at the polling places... So many people worked very hard on this campaign," she said around 10 p.m., adding she was out at four polling places Tuesday.

"There were a lot of voters, even if they were coming and going, who were very gracious in their response. I was encouraged by that, but, of course, you never count on anything," she said.

Jacobs appeared to be the runaway winner in the Republican race for Congress, with 77 percent of Harford's vote and 61 percent of the statewide vote. She officially proclaimed victory at nearly 10:30 p.m.

She beat Harford competitor Rick Impallaria, who only received 14 percent of the vote, which means she would square off against Democrat incumbent Dutch Ruppersberger in the general election.

Jacobs, for one, said she was "thrilled" about apparently winning the Republican race in the second Congressional district and looked forward to a fight in November.

"I love my people in Harford County and I really appreciate it," she said shortly after 10 p.m. from her headquarters in Rosedale.

In the Republican presidential primary, Harford seemed to favor Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts governor had about 46 percent of Harford's vote shortly after the polls closed, with Rick Santorum gathering 29 percent, Newt Gingrich getting 10 percent and Ron Paul getting 12 percent.

Among Democrats, 85 percent had voted for Barack Obama.

Turnout in the Harford election proved very low, as it was statewide. Only about 27,000 ballots were cast, making up 21 percent of Harford's registered voters, as of roughly 10:20 p.m.

Jacobs said she had more than 100 supporters helping her at the polls Tuesday.

She apparently was winning with more than 50 percent in Baltimore County and was still waiting for other results to come in, Jacobs said.

"I am really excited and this is a great day," Jacobs said, adding only Baltimore County Sen. Bobby Zirkin had predicted she would win by such a large percentage.

"I just looked at him and laughed," she said. "He's a smart guy... I was just hoping to get over 50 percent of the vote."

She said she was looking forward to the general election race.

"We worked really hard... We're gonna ditch Dutch," she said.

In the First Congressional race, Democratic candidates John LaFerla and Wendy Rosen were neck-and-neck at about 10:20 p.m., with roughly 39 percent each. Kim Letke trailed with about 21 percent.

With all precincts reporting across the huge congressional district Wednesday morning, both LaFerla and Rosen had about 43 percent apiece, leaving the decision on the Democratic nominee likely to rest on the counting of absentee and provisional ballots planned for Thursday, April 9 and April 13.

Incumbent First District Congressman Andy Harris did not have primary opposition, but his name was on the ballot and he received more than 43,000 votes both in early voting and at the polls Tuesday, some 20,000 votes more than all three of the Democrat aspirants together.

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin also seemed a shoo-in, with 77 percent of the Democratic vote.

In the race for judge, Bowen said challenger Ed Andrews' campaign was more about making a specific point than about either of them as candidates.

"I don't believe the tenor of Mr. Andrews' campaign had anything to do with my qualifications or his," she said. "It was really about asking the voters to send a message to Annapolis. I am delighted that many people looked at this based on the qualifications."

As for the margin by which she seemed destined to win, Bowen said: "I am very gratified and delighted."

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