Both Del. Elizabeth Bobo and Howard County Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty decisively won their West Columbia Democratic primaries, despite their sharply divergent views on the much debated renewal plan for central Columbia.
Virtually complete, if unofficial returns showed Bobo won the Democratic nomination for her seat with 82 percent of the vote, and Sigaty got 62.5 percent of the vote in her Council District 4 race. The results showed that many voters picked both popular incumbents, and did not vote on the Columbia issue.
A relieved, thankful, and red-eyed Sigaty thanked her supporters "from the bottom of my heart" at county executive Ken Ulman's headquarters in East Columbia after realizing she had won.
"I'm going to give my knees a break and my ankles a break on Wednesday, but we'll be ready to start out on Thursday," she said. Republican Tom D'Asto is her general election opponent.
"An awful lot of people didn't know what the issue was," Klein said after conceding defeat. He had called Sigaty and congratulated her.
"I would have liked to have seen Alan win, and he didn't," Bobo said about Alan Klein, the man she had supported to unseat Sigaty. They shared dissatisfaction with the plan to redevelop central Columbia over the next three decades.
"I thought he had a reasonable chance," Bobo said after arriving at Ulman's headquarters shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday. Klein did not appear there.
Sigaty guided the 30-year General Growth Properties redevelopment plan intended to spark a rebirth of Columbia to unanimous adoption by the council in February. Klein, a former supporter, and Bobo insist the approved zoning would allow too many new homes and ensure unbearable congestion.
"I lost by 36 votes eight years ago," Sigaty said Tuesday morning, recalling her narrow 2002 primary loss for the same County Council seat to Ulman, now her strongest ally. "I am always nervous going into an election," she said as she stood outside Wilde Lake High School greeting the thin crowd of voters.
Bobo faced a primary challenge from former Republican John Bailey, a high school teacher and business advocate who backed the downtown plan and agreed with Sigaty. He switched political parties to attack Bobo, who will now face Republican Robert Wheatley.
There was no primary in either party for the county's top job, which allowed incumbent County Executive Ulman, a Democrat, to lend strong support to Sigaty's re-election battle in council District 4. He now faces Republican Trent Kittleman, a former Ehrlich administration transportation official, in the general election.
Howard Democrats now must try to fend off a trio of Republican former Ehrlich administration leaders. In addition to Kittleman, former delegate and state transportation secretary Robert L. Flanagan and former homeland security director Dennis R. Schrader are trying to wrest council seats from incumbents Courtney Watson and Jenn Terrasa in November.
Republican voters chose from among two state Senate candidates and three of the four state delegate hopefuls in District 13, covering southeastern Howard. They picked W.R. Grace executive Kyle Lorton for the senate nomination, and Ed Priola, Jeff Robinson and Loretta Gaffney as GOP nominees for House of Delegates. Voters in Elkridge joined those in Arbutus and Lansdowne in Baltimore County's District 12A to pick Joe Hooe and Albert Nalley, both candidates in 2006, to represent them against incumbent delegates James E. Malone Jr. and Steven J. DeBoy Sr.
Howard also has an elected, nonpartisan school board with four seats available this year. Voters narrowed the field from 11 to eight in the primary. Those continuing to the general election are incumbents Sandra French and Frank Aquino, Robert Ballinger, Leslie Kornreich, Brian Meshkin, David E. Proudfoot, Cindy Caillancourt and Larry Walker.
Baltimore Sun reporter Joe Burris contributed to this article.