The Baltimore County Council will have a substantially different membership next year, but the magnitude of the shift remains to be seen as the results of several primary races were still undetermined late Tuesday night.
A majority of seats on the seven-member panel were up for grabs, with four council members deciding not to seek another term and two incumbents locked in tight primary contests in their re-election bids.
Democratic Councilman John Olszewski of District 7 appeared to be a step closer to another term, with just a fraction of precincts reporting, but his council colleagues Kenneth Oliver, a District 4 Democrat, and T. Bryan McIntire, a District 3 Republican, were in close races against challengers.
Newcomers Tom Quirk of District 1, Vicki Almond of District 2 and Cathy Bevins of District 6 were ahead in Democratic primary battles in races where the incumbent was not running. Ryan Nawrocki had the lead in the District 6 Republican primary, and the District 5 Democratic race was almost tied between Mike Ertel and Bill Paulshock.
Oliver and McIntire were seeking a third and fifth term, respectively. Oliver, the only African-American on the council, faced a field of six Democratic challengers to land a third term representing Woodlawn, Randallstown, Owings Mills and Reisterstown. Oliver was essentially deadlocked with Leronia Josey, and Julian E. Jones Jr. was close behind. There is no Republican challenger for Oliver's seat in the November general election.
McIntire, the lone Republican on the council, was essentially tied with Todd Huff. The winner of his seat would go on to face Democrat Ben Sutley in the fall. His predominantly rural district is the county's largest, stretching north to Pennsylvania, west to Carroll County and east to Harford County.
Dundalk Democrat Olszewski had a wide lead over opponent Charles "Buzz" Beeler. He does not have a Republican opponent in the fall general election.
Other GOP challengers include Steve Whisler in District 1, Jon M. Herbst in District 2 and David Marks in District 5.
Almond, Bevins and Josey could be the first women on the council since 1994.
Quirk, Bevins and Gordon Harden, of District 5, were departing County Executive James T. Smith Jr.'s picks for the open seats. Two development attorneys with ties to Smith held a controversial fundraiser for the trio. Development and influence by developers is a constant issue in county council races; members who propose zoning changes in their districts are generally not challenged by others on the council.
The four departing members include Joseph Bartenfelder and Kevin Kamenetz, who were facing off for the Democratic County executive nomination. Stephen G. Samuel Moxley and Vincent J. Gardina are stepping down as well.