Freeman easily wins Harford Senate race


BEL AIR -- Delegate Eileen M. Rehrmann, who has never lost an election, kept her string intact last night by crushing two rivals in the Democratic primary for Harford County Executive.

In the other county race that made headlines, County Executive Habern W. Freeman Jr. handily defeated his longtime ally, former state Sen. William S. James, in the race for the District 34 Senate seat.

Ms. Rehrmann won by almost 2-to-1 over over another previously unbeaten politician, County Councilwoman Barbara A. Risacher, D-District A, and Bel Air accountant John P. Seisman Sr.

If Ms. Rehrmann wins the general election -- as has every previous winner of the Democratic primary -- she would become the first female Harford County executive and only the second female county executive in Maryland. Howard County's Elizabeth Bobo was the first.

She will be heavily favored over former Bel Air Mayor Geoffrey D. Close, who was unopposed in the Republican primary.

"It always feels good to win, but winning by this much makes you feel better," said Ms. Rehrmann, 46, of Bel Air, whose campaign focused on the experience that she gained during two terms in the legislature and her contacts in Annapolis, where she was a staunch supporter of Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Many believe Ms. Risacher was hurt by her flip-flop last year on the since-abandoned proposal to build a mall at Interstate 95 and Route 24. She initially voted against a zoning change for the proposed Windsor Mall, then changed her mind and backed it.

The Freeman-James Senate contest, in which nary a hostile word was exchanged, was not supposed to happen. The two men had agreed earlier this year that only one of them would challenge incumbent Catherine I. Riley, but when she stepped down in June, Mr. Freeman entered the race, even though Mr. James had already filed.

Mr. Freeman faces no opposition in November.

In Harford's other legislative races, incumbent Delegate William H. Cox Jr. narrowly survived in the Democratic primary in District 34, along with Mary Louise Preis, 48, a Bel Air lawyer, and Rose Mary Hatem Bonsack, 56, an Aberdeen physician.

The winners in the GOP primary in that district were Havre de Grace Mayor David R. Craig, 41; former prosecutor David M. Meadows, 33, of Bel Air; and Cecil W. Wood, 61, of Abingdon.

In District 35A, incumbent Delegate Joseph V. Lutz, 42, of Forest Hill, won renomination but Delegate William A. Clark, 32, of Hickory, was defeated by county Democratic Central Committee Chairman Donald C. Fry.

The two winners will face Republican Central Committee Chairman James M. Harkins, 36, of Whiteford, and Joppa businesswoman Dorothy P. Stancill, 47, who were unopposed.

The Senate race in District 35A pits Democratic incumbent William H. Amoss against Republican challenger James Cooper, both of whom were unopposed.

In the contests for County Council seats, the big news was victories by former County Executive Charles B. Anderson in District A and by civic activist Theresa M. Pierno in District C, both Democrats.

Mr. Anderson, 59, of Joppa, beat four rivals and will face unopposed GOP candidate Susan B. Heselton in November. Ms. Pierno, 33, of Bel Air, defeated four-term incumbent John W. Schafer. She has no opposition in November.

In the Democratic primary for council president, Councilman Frederick J. Hatem, D-District F, easily defeated former state Sen. Arthur H. Helton.

He will face the incumbent, the Rev. Jeffrey D. Wilson, the sole Republican candidate.

In District F, former Havre de Grace Council President Philip J. Barker beat James D. Haney to win the seat vacated by Dr. Hatem. He faces no opposition in November.

In District B, Democrat Jeffries Webster handily defeated John R. Gaughan for the right to face unopposed Republican Joanne S. Parrot in November.

The other council incumbents, J. Robert Hooper, D-District D, and G. Edward Fielder, D-District E, were unopposed. Mr. Hooper faces Barry Glassman in November, while Mr. Feilder takes on Robert S. Wagner, both unopposed Republican candidates.

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