Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. secured the Democratic Party's nomination for a second term last night, while two county councilmen effectively won re-election.
Smith, who was leading his closest rival in the Democratic primary by a margin of more than 8-to-1, was set to move on to a general election against Clarence W. Bell Jr., a state police lieutenant and the Republican candidate.
"I think we carry a lot of momentum into the general election, irrespective of who our opponent will be," Smith said last night at the Holiday Inn in Timonium, where he awaited results with Democratic state's attorney candidate Scott D. Shellenberger and others.
Kenneth N. Oliver, 61, who in 2002 became the first African-American to be elected to the County Council, was prevailing in a Democratic primary rematch against his opponent from that year, Penny L. McCrimmon, a 57-year-old community activist.
Four years ago, she lost to Oliver by 452 votes. With two-thirds of the precincts reporting last night, Oliver was leading by a margin of nearly four times that. Because no Republican entered the race for the 4th District, which includes Randallstown, Woodlawn and parts of Owings Mills, Oliver will be returned to office.
Similarly, incumbent Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, 76, a north county Republican, held a commanding lead over Michael J. Wagner, a businessman from Phoenix. With no Democratic candidates for the 3rd District council seat, which represents Cockeysville, Hunt Valley, Parkton and part of Reisterstown, yesterday's Republican primary means McIntire will return to office.
The closest race of the night was for the Democratic nomination for county state's attorney, a job for which there had not been a contested election in 24 years. With more than two-thirds of the precincts reporting, Shellenberger, a former county prosecutor who has spent the past 13 years with the law firm of Peter G. Angelos, was leading longtime personal injury lawyer Stephen L. Miles.
The winner of that race will face Republican Stephen Bailey, one of the county's two deputy state's attorneys and the hand-picked successor of longtime top prosecutor Sandra A. O'Connor, who is retiring after 32 years on the job.
The slate of four sitting Circuit Court judges - Robert E. Cahill Jr., Judith C. Ensor, Timothy J. Martin and Mickey J. Norman - appeared to be on their way to 15-year terms without having to go through a general election contest. The sitting judges were leading their two challengers, William R. Buie III and Arthur M. Frank, on both the Democratic and Republican ballots.
On the Republican ballot for county executive, Bell, 47, of Pikesville, who was recruited to run by county Republican leaders and endorsed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., led Norman J. Cioka, a county employee from Rosedale, by a margin of nearly 4-to1.
Bell would face Smith, 64, a Reisterstown Democrat and former Circuit Court judge, who has filled a campaign war chest with more than $1 million but did little campaigning before the primary.
In other County Council races, incumbents were leading their opponents by wide margins.
In the Democratic primary for the 7th District, which includes Dundalk and Sparrows Point, two-term incumbent John Olszewski Sr. was leading Bernice Myer of Millers Island.
Councilman Vincent J. Gardina was leading community activist Kathy Reiner Martin in the Democratic primary in the 5th District, which stretches from Towson and Perry Hall to the eastern edge of the county.
In the 2nd District, which includes Pikesville and parts of Owings Mills and Lutherville, Kevin Kamenetz, a three-term Council incumbent, was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In that district's Republican primary, Carol Anneliese "Lisa" Marquardt, a lawyer, led Timothy M. Thompson, who works in insurance and real estate.
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Sun reporters Laura Barnhardt and Julie Scharper contributed to this article.