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Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz has been endorsed by the Democratic club in a politically conservative part of the county where his chief opponent, Joseph Bartenfelder, is expected to make a strong showing.

The Southwest Baltimore County Democratic Club backed Kamenetz Monday night by a vote of 22-14 after hearing a brief statement from Kamenetz during a meeting at the Bloomsbury Community Center in Catonsville. Bartenfelder, who has served alongside Kamenetz on the council since 1994, did not attend the session.

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Club president Margaret Henn said she was "a little bit surprised" by the outcome, but "I wouldn't say I was knocked over ... I thought Joe might have done a little better."

Vice president Julia Graham cautioned against reading too much into the very small sample."Members of the club are strong Democrats," said Graham. "They're less conservative than the district as a whole."

She said she did not believe that Bartenfelder's absence influenced the outcome either way.

Kamenetz, the council member from District 2, has also been endorsed by the Northwest-Catonsville Democratic Club and the Tenth District Democratic Club headed by State Sen. Delores Kelley.

Bartenfelder, who represents District 6, has been endorsed by the Battle Grove Democratic Club in his home base on the east side, where Kamenetz has received endorsements from three east-side politicians: council members John Olszewski and Vincent Gardina, and former state Sen. Michael J. Collins.

The Southwest Baltimore County Democratic Club is one of 16 Democratic clubs in the county, and one of the more politically active. The organizations can serve as social clubs, but also play a variety of roles in political races, holding candidate forums and providing volunteers to take posts at polling places on election day

A late entry to the race on the Democratic side, former county employee Ron Harvey, has received no endorsements so far.

The Southwest club also endorsed Brian S. Bailey in the four-way contest for the Democratic nomination for the open District 1 council seat. Bailey, of Lansdowne, who chairs both the Baltimore County Democratic Party and a school board advisory panel, received 20 votes to 10 for Tom Quirk, a financial planner from Catonsville. The other two candidates, Rebecca Dongarra and Gregory J. Morgan, both of Catonsville, split the rest of the votes.

-Arthur Hirsch

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