Today, The Sun continues its Sept. 10 primary endorsements with a look at state legislative races in districts 9A, 12B and 13.
IN HOWARD COUNTY this primary election season, General Assembly candidates often share similar concerns. They tend to focus on three issues: fostering quality schools, controlling development and related road congestion, and providing affordable health care. But the candidates vary greatly in their experience and training.
District 9A: Among three Republican candidates for two House nominations in this western Howard district, incumbent Robert L. Flanagan, a delegate for 15 years and a GOP leader in Annapolis, has been an articulate voice of conservative opposition in heavily Democratic Annapolis.
The other incumbent, Gail H. Bates, another local Republican leader appointed this year after serving as a legislative aide in Annapolis and for former County Executive Charles I. Ecker, offers a long-term knowledge of the county's needs.
On the Democratic side, Walter E. Carson and Tony McGuffin run unopposed.
Representing parts of Howard and Carroll counties, District 9 Sen. Robert H. Kittleman, appointed this year after serving as the House minority leader, is unopposed from either party.
District 12B: In this Columbia-area district, longtime Democratic Del. Elizabeth Bobo, a former county executive and perhaps the most liberal member of Howard's delegation, is the only candidate from either party.
And in the District 12 state Senate race, Democratic incumbent Ed J. Kasemeyer, representing parts of Howard and Baltimore counties, has been an effective legislator over almost two decades in the House and Senate. The Republican senatorial candidate, Mike Sneeringer, is unopposed.
District 13: Howard's most heated race is among five Democrats seeking the three delegate nominations in this district, which sprawls from Elkridge through East Columbia to North Laurel and Fulton.
Among the five, first-time candidate Neil Quinter, a telecommunications lawyer with solid experience as a counsel for congressional committees and the state Department of Environment, warrants support -- as do the two incumbents, Frank S. Turner and Shane Pendergrass. Both have been responsive to their communities. Mr. Turner is rising in the ranks of the House Appropriations Committee; Ms. Pendergrass was an early leader in questioning CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's plan to convert to a for-profit entity.
In the GOP primary, two first-time candidates, Mary Beth Tung and Bob Adams, stand out in a field of six. Ms. Tung, a patent agent who has a doctorate in biomedical sciences and has been a medical school professor, offers a potentially useful background on a growing number of technical issues facing the state. Mr. Adams, a Washington media adviser who's worked for conservative causes, is interested in restructuring state government.
In the District 13 state Senate primary, the experience of incumbent Sen. Sandra B. Schrader, a county Republican leader appointed in January after serving as a legislative aide in Annapolis for a decade, overshadows her challenger's. Democrat C. Vernon Gray, a county councilman for two decades and past president of the National Association of Counties, runs unopposed.
The Sun continues endorsements with a look at state legislative races in districts 4B, 5A and 9B.