Dark horse Del. Ellen R. Sauerbrey won the Republican gubernatorial nomination yesterday, trouncing Rep. Helen Delich Bentley throughout Maryland while Democrats handed an overwhelming victory to Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening.
The turnout appeared to be somewhat above 35 percent overall. The general election will be held Nov. 8.
Mrs. Sauerbrey, who billed herself as the truest Republican in the race and who called Mrs. Bentley a tool of Democratic Gov. William Donald Schaefer, rode to triumph on calls for deep tax cuts and tough criminal sanctions.
"I think I offer a very clear choice, a strong fiscal conservative vs. a spender. With me, people will be able to keep dollars in their pockets," Mrs. Sauerbrey said last night.
Looking forward to his encounter with Mrs. Sauerbrey, Mr. Glendening said: "We won't change our tactics at all. As a practical matter, we don't run against anyone. We got two-thirds the vote tonight in a four-way race."
In the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, former Tennessee Sen. Bill Brock outdistanced Montgomery County developer +V Ruthann Aron. He will meet the three-term incumbent, Paul S. Sarbanes, who faced only token opposition in the Democratic race.
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. turned back challengers Eleanor M. Carey, a former deputy state attorney general, and Patrick J. Smith, a Rockville attorney, in the Democratic primary.
Republican Richard D. Bennett, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland, was unopposed for the GOP nomination.
Seeking a 10th term as Maryland's chief tax collector, state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein defeated James B. Moorhead. The Montgomery County lawyer's negative campaigning only nicked Mr. Goldstein, 81, who has become an immovable fixture in Maryland politics.
In an upset, Republicans nominated Timothy R. Mayberry, 38, a banking consultant from Boonsboro in Washington County.
Closely watched races
In one of the state's two most closely watched congressional races, Republican Del. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. will oppose Democratic Del. Gerry L. Brewster for the 2nd District seat. Mr. Brewster held off a strong challenge from Del. Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis.
The contest between Mr. Ehrlich, the Republican, and Mr. Brewster, the Democrat, will put a new generation into the seat held by Mrs. Bentley, 70. Both lawyers are 35-year-old graduates of the Gilman School and Princeton University.
In the 6th, first-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett won the Republican primary. Former state Del. Paul D. Muldowney beat Stephen Crawford, Galen R. Clagett and Neil S. Dhillon for the Democratic nomination to represent the Western and Central Maryland district.
In area races for county executive, Democrat C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III easily won the right to face Republican incumbent Roger B. Hayden.
In Anne Arundel County, Del. Theodore Sophocleus decisively took the Democratic nomination and will face Republican John Gary, who was unopposed.
In Howard County, Democrat Susan B. Gray beat Sue-Ellen Hantman for the right to oppose incumbent Republican Charles I. Ecker, who had no competition.
Last GOP governor in '68
In the race for the gubernatorial nomination, Democrats chose among four candidates in their determination to retain the post they have held since Republican Spiro T. Agnew left the office in 1968 to become vice president. Republicans have not made a strong race for the office since Mr. Agnew's 1966 victory.
Mr. Glendening's opponents battled a number of problems while his financial and organizational strength helped him build momentum throughout the primary campaign. Lt. Gov. Melvin A. "Mickey" Steinberg, who had been viewed as the front-runner as recently as February, quickly lost that status.
The other contenders, Baltimore state Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski and Montgomery County state Sen. Mary H. Boergers, ran creditable campaigns but emerged with nothing more than honorable mention.
The polls opened for Mr. Glendening yesterday with the prospect of a clear victory in a race which, a year ago, had promised to be much closer.
The Prince George's executive carried endorsements from major newspapers and from an array of unions. His affiliation with the Maryland Association of Counties, which he served in various posts, also appeared to aid his organization. The $3.2 million he raised was a historic high for a Maryland primary, easily outpacing his rivals.
In the Senate races, Mr. Sarbanes ran television advertisements calmly describing his Maryland roots, while his would-be Republican opponents waged a nasty battle for their party's nomination.
Attorney General Curran held a healthy lead over Mrs. Carey throughout the pre-primary polls. She lost to him by a narrow margin eight years ago. This time, though, Mr. Curran was an incumbent with an unusually low "negative" standing among voters, polls show.
In the 6th District, Mr. Muldowney asked voters to choose his brand of straight-talking conservatism over the well-financed Mr. Dhillon, whose campaign was hampered by disclosures that he had a spotty voting record and an assault conviction.
Mr. Bartlett, a conservative incumbent, provoked several controversies during his first two-year term, drawing a number of opponents who sensed an early opportunity to unseat him.
Gene M. Raynor, chief of the State Administrative Board of Election Laws, had predicted a 40 percent turnout -- slightly lower than the 42 percent in the statewide primary of 1990.
Voters were obliged to pay even more attention to this year's races, because many were in different General Assembly districts, redrawn to give roughly the same number of residents after the 1990 census.