The Baltimore County Council will have a substantially different makeup next year, as longtime Republican T. Bryan McIntire appears to have lost his seat and Democrat Kenneth Oliver is in a tough race to keep his own.
A majority of seats on the seven-member panel were up for grabs with four council members deciding not to seek another term. About 90 percent of precincts were reporting results by daybreak, and Democratic Councilman John Olszewski of District 7 was the only incumbent with a sizable lead.
Vote tallies came in slowly, and remained incomplete Wednesday morning. Katie A. Brown, director of the Baltimore County Board of elections said a computer program that tallies the results from voting machines was to blame. The system that reads the machines' memory cards repeatedly crashed Tuesday, and workers had to slow down. Each memory card takes about two minutes to upload, and there are more than 20,00 machines.
"It got to the point where we could only do about one card at a time," Brown said.
But the real problem seems to be that in several precincts, election judges left the memory cards in the machines. Elections officials will be traveling around the county to collect them all day. Brown expects results by this afternoon but even then they won't be official.
T. Bryan McIntire of District 3, the lone Republican on the council, was trailing Todd Huff, 30 percent to 46 percent. 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.
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 a large lead in the District 6 Republican primary, and the District 5 Democratic race was close, with Mike Ertel leading Bill Paulshock, 45 percent to 40 percent.
Oliver, the lone 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 fall general election.
Huff will face Democrat Ben Sutley in the fall. The 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, 64 percent to 36 percent. 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 outgoing 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.