Update: Low turnout primary made a bad day for state Senate incumbents

By Len Lazarick

Updated Friday morning based on State Board of Elections figures from 4 p.m. Thursday after the first round of absentee ballots had been counted. Montgomery County had partially counted the absentee votes and Prince George’s counties had yet to be update its tallies.

Tuesday’s low turnout primary turned out to be a bad day for state Senate incumbents challenged in their own primaries, with five current senators losing their seats to delegates who challenged them. Three other Montgomery County senators have apparently survived strong challenges.

Members of the House of Delegates, who typically run in multi-member districts, fared much better, with only a few in tight primary contests.

Incumbent Republican Sen. Ed Reilly, appointed to his seat in Anne Arundel County’s District 33, had a clear 1,400-vote victory over Del. James King.

In the statewide races, the results were much as expected.

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley easily won a primary to face Republican ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich, who got 75% of the vote fending off challenger Brian Murphy. U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski easily stomped six Democratic challengers in her primary, and will face Republican Eric Wargotz, a physician and Queen Anne’s County Commissioner, who won a plurality with ads depicting Mikulski as a dinosaur.

For comptroller, Republican Bill Campbell, who had a long career as a top federal financial officer, defeated Brendan Madigan, an 18-year-old high school student, and will face Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot.

State Senate defeats

In Washington County’s District 2, Del. Chris Shank, the House minority whip, easily beat long-time Sen. Donald Munson, who frequently voted with Democrats on budget issues. In Baltimore City, Sen. George Della, a 28-year veteran, lost his seat to 27-year-old newcomer Bill Ferguson.

In Prince George’s County’s District 24, Del. Joanne Benson, a member of the House for 20 years, defeated Sen. Nathaniel Exum, who served six terms in the House before going to the Senate 12 years ago. Del. Victor Ramirez got 64% of the vote in beating Sen. David Harrington, a County Council member appointed to the seat three years ago.


In Montgomery County’s District 19, Del. Roger Manno easily won 54% of the vote over Sen. Mike Lenett in a bitter contest that centered on the ability of the two men to get along with other lawmakers.


In District 14, Del. Karen Montgomery was ahead by 102 votes out of 9,500 cast over incumbent Sen. Rona Kramer, a pro-business Democrat who was targeted by major unions and progressive groups.

In District 17, Sen. Jennie Forehand, who has served in the House and Senate since 1975, held a 360-vote lead over former Del. Cheryl Kagan. In District 39, Sen. Nancy King, a House member before her appointment to the Senate three years ago, had a 242-vote advantage over Del. Saqib Ali.

 At least three members of the House of Delegates clearly lost their seats and two others were behind in their primary counts after the first round of absentee votes were tallied Thursday.

Del. Charles Jenkins, appointed to a Frederick County seat, lost to Michael Hough in the Republican primary and Del. Ruth Kirk in Baltimore City ran fourth in the Democratic primary. Del. Richard Sossi, a Queen Anne’s County Republican, apparently lost by 153 votes to Stephen Hershey, who was being supported by state Sen. E.J. Pipkin.

Del. Paul Stull of Frederick County was behind by 18 votes in his two-member district, and Democratic Del. Dan Riley in Harford County was behind a challenger by 47 votes. Absentee voters apparently rescued Del. Nancy Stocksdale, a Carroll County Republican, who was now ahead by 23 votes, after trailing by 10 votes in the election day tallies.

About The Author

Support Our Work!

We depend on your support. A generous gift in any amount helps us continue to bring you this service.