With four retiring legislators and three more running for different seats this election cycle, Howard County's State House delegation will be filled with fresh faces when session starts in January.
With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, more than a year of uncertainty and speculation yielded a group of victors wiith their sights set on becoming Howard's freshman class.
In District 9, which covers western Howard and is the most conservative swath of the county's electorate, the race was neck and neck between two Democratic candidates hoping to make a play for the historically Republican-held Senate seat being vacated by current state Sen. Allan Kittleman as he runs for county executive.
Wednesday morning, Ryan Frederic, the owner of an aerospace security and research firm who threw his name in the ring on the day of the filing deadline, appeared to have the edge over Daniel Medinger, the owner of a media company. The 51-48 race that was split 51 percent to 48 percent was separated by only 268 votes.
In House District 9A, which now covers parts of both Howard and Carroll counties, incumbent Del. Warren Miller garnered the most support, with 29.26 percent of the vote. Trent Kittleman, Allan's stepmother, was the candidate with the second highest vote count in the two-member district, at 22.31 percent. Trailing Miller and Kittleman were Frank Mirabile, with 21.94 percent, Kyle Lorton, with 14.06 percent and Christopher Eric Bouchat, the only Carroll County candidate, with 12.43 percent.
In Howard's newest district, 9B, both Democratic and Republican voters had a choice to make in the primary, and one candidate on each side held a commanding lead.
Attorney, blogger and former Columbia Association Board member Tom Coale, a Democrat, won with about 62 percent of the vote, while veteran math teacher Rich Corkran had a little less than 38 percent.
The cornerstone of Corkran's campaign strategy had been to call Coale's Democratic credentials into question.
Tuesday night, Coale said the results represented a rejection of that rhetoric. "What [Corkran] was trying to make this race about was ideological purity. We never took the bait on that," he said.
On the Republican side, small business owner Carol Loveless trailed former Maryland transportation secretary Bob Flanagan, with 43 percent to Flanagan's 56 percent.
Flanagan, a former delegate who had raised substantially less than Loveless for his campaign, said his sights were set on the general election in the swing district.
In November, he said, "the difference is between a guy who wants to raise taxes and a guy who wants to reduce taxes."
District 12, which was redrawn in 2012 to include portions of Howard and Baltimore counties, was the most crowded of Howard's primary races. On the Democratic side, 10 candidates were competing for three open seats, left vacant by the district's retiring incumbents, Dels. Liz Bobo, Steven DeBoy and Jimmy Malone.
Columbia physicians Clarence Lam and Terri Hill were the clear front runners: Lam had about 21 percent of the vote and Hill had a little more than 20 percent.
Catonsville teacher Eric Ebersole, at 15 percent, had the next strongest showing in what some observers had predicted would be a race for third place in the district, which stretches from Columbia to Catonsville.
The results mean that there will be two Democrats from Howard County and one from Baltimore running in November. The three Republican candidates had no challengers and will advance to the general election.
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The district had previously been represented by one Howard resident, Bobo, and two from Baltimore County, DeBoy and Malone.
Hill said she thought all members of the district should still feel well served. "Everybody's got to be from somewhere and as a physician on call 24/7 for years, I have yet to ask the patient who called me where they live," she said.
The next closest District 12 candidate, Catonsville small business owner Rebecca Dongarra, trailed by a little more than two points, at 12.72 percent.
Following Dongarra were Nick Stewart (10.09 percent), Renee McGuirk-Spence (6.36 percent), Brian Bailey (5.33 percent), Michael Gisriel (4.18 percent), Adam Sachs (2.5 percent) and Jay Fred Cohen (1.93 percent).
In District 13, Democrats had a primary race for three delegate seats, including one left open by Del. Guy Guzzone, who is vying to succeed departing state Sen. Jim Robey.
Returns showed Fulton attorney Vanessa Atterbeary with the best numbers, at 27.31 percent of the vote. Atterbeary had joined with incumbents Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner, who held on to their seats with, respectively, some 27 percent and 25 percent of the vote, to form "Team 13."
Columbia business owner Nayab Siddiqui carried about 15 percent of the district and Oakland Mills community organizer Fred Eiland trailed the group, at about 4.46 percent.