The Baltimore City Council began to undergo a monumental shift Tuesday as a number of younger, novice politicians were poised to win Democratic nominations that historically secure victories in November's general election.
Eight of the council's 14 district seats are likely to be occupied by new representatives after a wave of retirements and a pair of incumbents trailed challengers in the primary. It's a level of turnover not seen since 2003.
City election officials said a few precincts would be counted Wednesday.
Veteran lawmakers Robert Curran, Helen L. Holton and Rochelle "Rikki" Spector are retiring. Councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick J. Mosby launched bids for mayor, and Councilman James B. Kraft pursued a Circuit Court judgeship.
Incumbents William "Pete" Welch and Warren M. Branch lost to challengers in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Councilmen Edward Reisinger, Eric T. Costello and Bill Henry held off serious primary challenges.
Also, for the first time in recent memory, a vibrant GOP campaign was playing out in Southeast Baltimore's 1st District, a section of the city that includes Canton and Fells Point.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan won the district in 2014, and that has given hope to some that the party could win a council seat in November. It would be the first time a Republican has won office in Baltimore since Theodore R. McKeldin was elected mayor in 1963.
Most of the 1st District candidates, including Republicans Liz Copeland and Matt McDaniel, gathered Tuesday afternoon at the Canton intersection of South Linwood and Fait avenues. They were joined by Army reservist Scott Goldman, who came in second to educator Zeke Cohen for the Democratic nod.
"It's no longer a brick wall for Republicans," said McDaniel, who held a commanding lead among Republicans late Tuesday. "Although it's still an uphill battle."
Copeland, who ran for a council seat as a Democrat in 2011, said the district is home to many conservative Democrats. She switched parties because she said the Democrats had become too liberal; she moved to Canton after Hogan won in 2014.
"Voters are looking for a change," she said.
Cohen (27 percent) edged Goldman (21) percent and four others for the Democratic nomination. McDaniel (51 percent) topped Copeland (39 percent) and Jennifer Dudley (9 percent) in the Republican race.
In the 2nd District, which includes far eastern and northeastern parts of the city, Brandon M. Scott, the sitting councilman, topped Democrats by a wide margin. With 74 percent of the primary vote, Scott will face Republican Gregory Yarberough in the general election.
Several well-funded candidates sought to replace Curran in Northeast Baltimore's 3rd District. Businessman Ryan Dorsey, with 40 percent of the vote, edged out labor organizer Jermaine Jones, who finished second with 30 percent. Dorsey will face G. Andreas "Spilly" Spiliadis, a member of the Green Party, in November.
Councilman Henry, a Democrat who represents North Baltimore's 4th District, defeated CSX Vice President Brian W. Hammock, 41 percent to 34 percent. Republican William "Sam" Broaddus III also was on the ballot.
In the 5th District, which includes poor and higher-income parts of Northwest Baltimore, Spector's chosen successor, Betsy Gardner, competed in a close race against business owner Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer, who won by less than 400 votes. Schleifer had 33 percent of the vote, edging Gardner (29 percent). No candidate is running from any other party.
Councilwoman Middleton handily won the Democratic nomination in the Northwestern 6th District that she currently represents. After taking 71 percent of the vote in the primary, she'll face Green Party candidate Richard Thomas White Jr. in the general election.
With Mosby launching a mayoral bid, which he has since abandoned, 11 Democrats and a Republican hoped to capture his seat on the council. City official Leon F. Pinkett III, former Del. Shawn Z. Tarrant, City Council aide Marshall Bell and pastor Westley West were locked in a four-way race. Pinkett held a narrow lead late Tuesday and kept it as all 24 precincts reported. Pinkett, with 24 percent of the vote, edged Tarrant (22 percent), West (19 percent) and Bell (18 percent. Pinkett will face GOP nominee Tamara Purnell, who works for the city courts.
Seven Democrats were vying to replace Holton in the West Baltimore seat she has held for 20 years. Holton was supporting Kristerfer Burnett, while Rep. Elijah E. Cummings backed Reginald "Reggie" Fugett. Burnett held an 800-vote edge, winning with 29 percent to Fugett's 21. Joseph Brown won the Republican primary.
Towson University political science professor John Bullock defeated the incumbent Welch.
Welch, an accountant who lives in Rosemont, has represented the Southwest Baltimore district since the council appointed him in 2011 to replace his mother, former Councilwoman Agnes Welch. Bullock came in third in the 2011 primary election.
"We're feeling excited," Bullock said. "Working people in the city want to see a change."
Bullock took 51 percent of the vote, ahead of Welch's 33 percent.
Kenneth Ebron won the Republican race.
Council Vice President Reisinger has represented South Baltimore's 10th District for more than 20 years and was in an unexpectedly tight race with business owner Charlie Metz. Reisinger edged Metz by just 105 votes.
Costello, who was appointed to the council in September 2014, took the 11th District, which includes the downtown business district and Inner Harbor.
Four Democratic opponents had emerged after Costello's appointment, saying Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young steered him into the job with little community input.
Costello took 55 percent of the vote, with Dea Thomas finishing a distance second at 23 percent. Greg Sileo was third with 11 percent.
With 12th District Councilman Stokes seeking to become mayor, after a failed mayoral bid in 1999, there has been no clear front-runner to win a seat that represents east and center Baltimore neighborhoods such as Charles Village, Remington and Oliver.
Seven Democrats competed in Tuesday's primary. Stokes and other council power brokers have supported Robert Stokes Sr., the councilman's legislative aide, who is no relation. Stokes narrowly edged Kelly Cross, 33 percent to 30 percent.
Shannon Sneed was successful in her second attempt to unseat Councilman Branch. In the 2011 Democratic primary election, Sneed lost to Branch by just 43 votes.
Tuesday, she won with 54 percent. Antonio Glover finished second with 24 percent, and Branch finished third with 17 percent.
"They wanted something else," Sneed said of voters. "They didn't want the same old, same old."
Councilwoman Clarke appears poised to return to the seat she has held since 2004. The full-time councilwoman faced two challengers, but finished with 90 percent of the vote.
Thomas T. Boyce, an insurance agent running unopposed as a Republican in the district, died last week. Charles A. Long, who sat on the city's Republican Central Committee with Boyce, said he is the only person who could run in Boyce's place, though he wasn't prepared to say if he would do so.