Miller tops GOP delegate race

The Baltimore Sun

One Howard County delegate lost his seat in yesterday's Democratic primary, while another fended off a challenge from a determined newcomer.

Republican Warren E. Miller won his party primary along with incumbent Del. Gail H. Bates in their western county district, while incumbent Neil F. Quinter lost to a ticket featuring a popular county council member.

With nearly all of the vote in, Miller and Bates had roughly double the votes of challenger Melissa Ridgely Covolesky, who conceded just after 11 p.m.

"It's obviously not looking good. It's been a good effort. I'm glad I did it. I'll be running again in four years," Covolesky said in a telephone interview.

Miller, who was appointed to his seat in 2003 to fill a vacancy, said, "It's nice to finally think I'm going to be the elected delegate instead of the appointed delegate. A lot of help and hard work paid off."

He and Covolesky said the campaign remained positive and focused on issues.

In District 13, where five Democrats were vying for three nominations, Del. Neil Quinter and candidate Nina Basu appeared the losers by several thousand votes.

Guy Guzzone, a two-term county councilman who successfully ran on a ticket with two of the district's three incumbents, said, "It looks good. It feels good. People like our team."

Shane Pendergrass, another incumbent on Guzzone's team, said, "It looks as though the team has done well and we've come in together."

Quinter was gracious in defeat.

"Whatever happens, I'm grateful I've been able to serve the people of Howard County," Quinter said as results came in.

Gathered around big screen TV's and trays of sandwiches, the tired party workers traded stories about the day's light vote.

Two Howard County Circuit Court judges were slightly ahead of a challenger in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, but yesterday's election didn't decide the issue. Judges Louis A. Becker and Richard S. Bernhardt will have to face Ellicott City lawyer David A. Titman in November, because Titman is the nominee of the Libertarian Party.

The District 13 Democratic primary sparked the most intense campaigning -- and the most voter confusion.

Two 12-year incumbents, Frank S. Turner and Pendergrass, teamed with Guzzone to run with outgoing two-term County Executive James N. Robey, who is seeking the district's state Senate seat. That left the third incumbent, Quinter, on his own.

The focus in the general election likely will be on Robey's attempt to unseat Republican state Sen. Sandra B. Schrader, who gives the GOP a 2-1 edge on local bills in Howard's three-senator delegation.

In western Howard's District 9a Republican primary for delegate, newcomer Covolesky highlighted her family's long history in the county's farm community and her 12 years as a military officer.

Reporters Sandy Alexander and Tyrone Richardson contributed to this article.

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