Howard County Republicans, like their GOP counterparts statewide, chose former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Tuesday as their favored presidential nominee.
Romney captured 55 percent of the primary vote in Howard County, followed by Rick Santorum with 24 percent and Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both with 10 percent. Gingrich only earned 5 more Howard votes than Paul.
State voters followed the same pattern.
President Barack Obama was unchallenged and earned 89 percent of the Howard County Democratic vote. The other 11 percent were uncommitted to any presidential candidate.
Howard County Republican voters also helped choose nine (three per Congressional district) of the 37 Maryland delegates who will be attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Fl., from Aug. 27-30.
Three of the Romney delegates selected are from Howard: state Sen. Allan Kittleman, of West Friendship, County Council member Greg Fox, of Fulton, and Brian Harlin, of Ellicott City. Howard County GOP Chairwoman Loretta Shields, of Dayton, Howard GOP vice chairman Dave Myers, of Ellicott City, and Joyce Pope, of Fulton, will be attending the convention as alternate delegates.
"It was a great night," Shields said. "We went three for three with the Romney organization (Romney won primaries in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin), and all of Romney's delegates and alternates were elected, so we're all looking forward to going to Tampa."
Delegates and alternate delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte Sept. 3-6, were pre-selected by the Obama campaign before their names were put on the ballot.
Nine will be attending from Howard: state Del. Guy Guzzone, of Columbia; County Council member Calvin Ball, of Columbia; Howard County Democratic Central Committee member Clarence Lam, of Columbia; Mitch Case, of Ellicott City; Anwer Hasan, of Clarksville; Angela Lagdameo, of Ellicott City; Mary Marker, of Columbia; Amanda Elizabeth Pleasant, of Ellicott City; and Lucinda Ware, of Columbia.
Incumbents swept the Democratic primaries for Congressional Districts 2, 3 and 7, all of which include parts of Howard County.
In District 2, which was redrawn last fall to include most of the eastern border of Howard, incumbent Dutch Ruppersberger, a Cockeysville Democrat, had no primary challengers. His Republican challenger in the general election will be state Sen. Nancy Jacobs, of Harford County.
Jacobs trampled her GOP primary opponents in District 2 with 59 percent of the vote. State Del. Rick Impallaria, of Harford County, came in second with 24 percent, followed by Larry Smith, of Baltimore County, with 11 percent. Howard Orton, of Anne Arundel County, Ray Bly, of Jessup, and Vlad Degen, of Baltimore County, all finished with less than 3 percent of the vote.
District 3 incumbent John Sarbanes, a Towson Democrat, handily beat his only primary opponent, David Lockwood, of Silver Spring, with 86 percent of the vote to Lockwood's 14 percent.
The District 3 Republican primary was fairly close. Eric Delano Knowles, of Baltimore, emerged the victor with 33 percent of the vote. Thomas "Pinkston" Harris, of Baltimore, finished second with 29 percent, followed by Armand Girard, of Baltimore, with 23 percent and Draper Phelps, of Annapolis, with 14 percent.
District 7 incumbent Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, carried his primary with 93 percent of the vote. The other 7 percent went to his Democratic challengers Charles Smith, of Baltimore, and Ty Glen Busch, of Columbia.
For the second election in a row, Cummings will face Woodbine Republican Frank Mirabile. Mirabile won the GOP primary in District 7 with 70 percent of the vote over Baltimore County Republican M. Justin Kinsey, who earned 30 percent.
"We're very excited about the results," Mirabile said. "We made some good efforts up in the Baltimore County and Howard County areas, and we're starting to get back into the city."
Before the general election, Mirabile said he plans to hold several town hall meetings throughout District 7.
"The big goal is to get back to representing people and carrying their message," he said.
In 2010, Cummings beat Mirabile by 52 percentage points. But Mirabile said he's not deterred.
"I think we have more than an average shot here, especially with the redistricting," he said, noting that conservative parts of northern Baltimore County have been added to District 7.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Baltimore Democrat, won his primary with 74 percent of the vote. State Sen.C. Anthony Muse, aPrince George's County Democrat, finished second with 16 percent; the other seven Democratic challengers all finished less than 3 percent of the vote.
In the general election, Cardin will face Dan Bongino, of Severna Park, who bested nine other GOP challengers, winning 34 percent of the vote.