ROUTE 2 - A weekly journey through Anne Arundel county

Political pundits are predicting the lowest voter turnout in recent memory for today's primaries, few of the local races have generated any real heat, nobody even bothered to run against any of the incumbent state senators and Louise Beauregard isn't on the ballot.

Primary Election Day 1990 promises to be a real snore -- which is a shame, not only because elections should mean more than that, but because the last several elections have included some real drama.

Who can forget primary day 1982? George Bachman and H. Erle Schaefer were so busy duking it out with one another for the Democratic county executive nod that they failed to notice O. James Lighthizer and his mob from Crofton -- who managed to parlay his solid base in South County into an eight-year run in the county's top spot. A pharmacist from Linthicum, taking advantage of the county's first-ever election-by-district primary, managed to squeak by incumbent Sarah Carter for the District 1 council seat (this paper reported Carter as the winner, much to a former editor's eternal chagrin -- and Ted Sophocleus' amusement).

And that November, there was this ubiquitous former school board member from Hawaii who won a seat in the House of Delegates by standing on a street corner. Ask William Burkhead how surprised he was to lose his seat to John Leopold, a guy who had lived in Anne Arundel County only a couple months.

Election '86, of course, was the year of the Tom McMillen-Bobby Neall free-for-all. Probably everyone remembers what turned into the closest congressional race in the nation, as Tommy Mac eked out a victory by about 400 votes -- and began his history-making career as the tallest person ever to serve in Congress.

November 1986 also saw Don Lamb somehow hold on to a one-vote victory over Republican John Hammond in the race for the third delegate seat from District 30. Recounts on that one lasted into December, and at one point Hammond was even ahead by three votes.

No, this year's primary probably won't live up to those expectations. But at least there's hope for the general election: Leopold vs. Phil Jimeno for the Senate seat in District 31 could prove to be the cat fight to end all cat fights. That one could end up in the emergency ward at North Arundel Hospital.

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