On a day that Americans witnessed a devastating attack on their country, voters in Maryland's capital exercised the fundamental right of democracy - and ousted incumbent Mayor Dean L. Johnson in yesterday's mayoral primary.
Alderman Herbert H. McMillan edged out Johnson to pick up the Republican nomination in last night's unofficial tally.
Alderman Ellen O. Moyer defeated four rivals, including former county council member Maureen Lamb and two-time mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, to represent the Democrats.
Voter turnout was about normal for a city election, as almost 4,500 voters, or 22 percent, of the 20,000 registered Democrats and Republicans turned out, even as government and private offices braced for the possibility of local terrorism.
"It made me want to vote more; it's one of our treasured rights," said resident Eleanor Dougherty, 54, as she left her polling place.
In the three contested city council Democratic races in the primary, Alderman Louise Hammond defeated challenger Caryl P. Weiss in Ward 1, Classie Gillis Hoyle defeated 20-year Alderman Samuel Gilmer in Ward 3, and Joshua Cohen edged out Douglas Lamborne in Ward 8. There were no Republican city council races in the primary.
McMillan and Moyer promised lively debate before the general election, each noting their significant political differences.
After Johnson learned of the results, he thanked the approximately 20 supporters who gathered with him at an art gallery.
"We fought a good battle," he said. "It looks like the other side has prevailed."
But he noted that it was a day that had candidates "emotionally split" as national tragedies played on the minds of many voters, and he said, kept a good portion of them from the polls.
McMillan, who had launched a tough campaign to oust the mayor, said his post-election gathering was subdued because of the tragedies.
"We're celebrating as much as we celebrate on a day like today," he said, noting that about 70 supporters had gathered at his house for pizza, beer and other treats. "This is not so much a celebration of a political victory - it is a celebration of America. We did America proud by participating in democracy despite being in the midst of a crisis."
For McMillan, the victory was particularly bittersweet. He is a pilot for American Airlines, one of the two airlines that had planes hijacked in yesterday's attacks.
"It's like having an election on Pearl Harbor day - except 10 times worse," he said.
Tanya Trivett, election administrator, said election officials had decided to keep the polls open after the tragedies unless police told them it was unsafe to do so.
For Ray Macon, an employee at the Government Printing Office in Washington, voting was a welcome distraction after he fled Washington shortly after seeing the smoke billowing from the Pentagon.
"We wanted to vote," he said, adding that the morning's events had left him "kind of numb."
"We also wanted to get out - we were afraid of being stuck to the television all night," he said.
Trivett said the telephones at the office were ringing constantly at midmorning as voters called to find out if the elections were still being held, and if the polls - many at schools and other public buildings - were open.
Trivett, who had a police radio on her desk and a radio playing the news in the background, said calls from residents complaining about stolen political signs and other concerns seem trivial in light of the national events.
"In the scope of things happening today, is this a pressing issue?" she asked. "Buildings are blowing up, and they are worried about signs."
In a nearby room, election officials crowded around a conference table, watching the news unfold throughout the afternoon on television.
Mary Lee Schab, 84, summed up the sentiment of many election officials, who pointed out that the excitement of the city election had been overshadowed by the tragedies.
"It's an election we'll never forget," she said.
Sun staff writer Lynn Anderson contributed to this article.
Candidates who will be on the ballot for the Annapolis General Election on Nov. 6:
Democrat: Alderman Ellen O. Moyer
Republican: Alderman Herbert H. McMillan
Democrat: Alderman Louise Hammond
Green Party: Isaac Opalinsky
Democrat: Alderman Sheila Tolliver*
Democrat: Classie Gillis Hoyle
Democrat: George O. Kelley*
Republican: Alderman Joseph Sachs*
Republican: David H. Cordle*
Independent: Wilford W. Scott
Democrat: Alderman Cynthia Carter*
Republican: Riccardo Paradiso*
Independent: Julie Stankivic
Republican: Alderman Michael W. Fox*
Democrat: Joshua Cohen
Republican: Robert McWilliams*
*Candidate was uncontested in primary election.