For most of the last 36 years, George M. Nutwell, senior or junior, has been register of wills in Anne Arundel County. The younger Mr. Nutwell, 58, hopes to continue that tradition as he campaigns this fall for a third term.
Mr. Nutwell, a Republican, is being challenged for the $64,000 a year job by Democrat Candace H. Beckett, a 44-year-old lawyer from Cape St. Claire with four graduate degrees.
Their race is among four for courthouse offices, including judge xTC of the orphan's court, where six candidates are running for three positions.
In the register of wills race, Ms. Beckett, who teaches a course on white-collar crime at the University of Maryland, has criticized Mr. Nutwell for not telling taxpayers more about the office's services. She also says he has not moved quickly enough to automate the office, where wills still are kept in bound volumes.
Mr. Nutwell says he talks to civic groups about his office two or three nights a month. His equipment is provided though the state Comptroller's office, he said. But the Board of Public Works recently awarded a contract that will ensure automation of his office in the next three years.
Mr. Nutwell's father, George M. Nutwell Sr., was register of wills from 1958 to 1978.
An Annapolis resident, Mr. Nutwell has been an administrator in the state Department of Natural Resources and the state comptroller's office. He graduated from the University of Baltimore. He was first elected to the office in 1986 and re-elected in 1990.
Ms. Beckett has law degrees from the University of Maryland and George Washington University, two masters degrees from the University of Hawaii and a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois.
The register of wills supervises a staff of 15 employees and a $500,000 budget. The office validates the authenticity of real estate and other assets left to surviving friends and family members in wills.
Orphans Court judges are paid $15,000 a year to work two days a week resolving disputes over contested wills.
The Democrats are:
* Betsy K. Dawson, 43, of Annapolis, a former assistant county solicitor who also had a private practice and served for two years on the county personnel board. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.
* Judith L. Duckett, 55, of Annapolis, who was elected to the Orphans Court in 1990. She was coordinator of continuing education at Anne Arundel Community College from 1978 to 1989. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and is the wife of Circuit Court Judge Warren B. Duckett Jr.
* Edith L. Segree, 53, of Arnold, worked as the legislative aide for Carol Baker, a former member of the county council, from 1982 to 1990. She also has been an outreach coordinator for a teen pregnancy prevention program and has been active in community organizations. She has a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University.
The Republicans are:
* Elaine M. Furth, 27, of Annapolis, who worked in the register of wills office for three years as a deputy clerk and as an auditor. She has a bachelor's degree from Purdue University.
* Mary Sellman Jackson, 55, of Davidsonville, a former junior high school teacher in Baltimore and Annapolis who is president of Helping Hand. She ran twice for county council and and has been appointed to various White House advisory groups. She has a bachelor's degree from Morgan State University and a master's degree from Towson State University.
* Gail Schaffer, 50 of Gambrills, a Republican party activist and a volunteer coordinator for People Against Child Abuse. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland.