ANNAPOLIS – Four years ago, voters in Montgomery County’s District 39 sent four Republicans to the state legislature. Last week, the district sent only one Republican back – state Sen. Patrick J. Hogan.
District 39 led the way to the Democrats’ net gain of six seats in the House of Delegates, state officials say after the counting of most absentee ballots. Two Republican incumbents in the district – Del. Barrie S. Ciliberti of Montgomery Village and Del. Mathew J. Mossburg of Laytonsville – lost their seats. A third open delegate’s seat also went to a Democrat.
Paul Carlson, a Democrat and District 39 winner, attributed the wins to support from the state party.
“The party did a lot to turn out voters,” Carlson said last week. Carlson, of Montgomery Village, added that the effort may have been geared toward the governor’s race but affected races statewide.
The Democrats picked up 10 House seats formerly held by Republicans; the Republicans picked up four that had been held by Democrats. The Democrats will now outnumber Republicans in the 141-member House of Delegates, 106 to 35, or by more than 3-to- 1.
In the Senate, the balance of power will remain the same, because the loss of one incumbent from each party negated any change. In Anne Arundel County’s District 32, Republican Sen. C. Edward Middlebrooks lost to Democrat James E. DeGrange Sr. In Harford County, Democratic Sen. Donald C. Fry was replaced by Republican J. Robert Hooper.
Democratic senators held onto their 32-to-15 majority, outnumbering Republicans more than 2-to-1. But, some say, the ideology of some Republicans may be a bit more right of center.
“In the Senate, the numbers haven’t changed, but the Republicans are becoming more conservative,” said Senate Majority Whip Ida G. Ruben, D-Montgomery County. For instance, Minority Whip John W. Derr and Senate Minority Leader F. Vernon Boozer, R- Baltimore County, were ousted in the primary by more conservative Republicans.
In addition to District 39, here’s where the Democrats picked up seats in the House, according to unofficial returns:
* In Baltimore and Harford counties’ District 6, an open seat, which has been held by Republican Del. Kenneth C. Holt, went to Democrat Nancy Hubers.
* In Howard and Prince George’s counties’ District 13B, Del. John S. Morgan, a two-term Republican, lost his seat to Democrat John A. Giannetti.
* In Montgomery County’s District 14A, Republican Del. Patricia Anne Faulkner was defeated by Democrat Tod David Sher.
* In Anne Arundel County, Districts 30, 31 and 32 each kicked out a Republican incumbent: Dels. Phillip D. Bissett, Victoria L. Schade and Michael W. Burns.
* District 37A handed an open seat to Democrat Rudolph C. Cane. The seat has been held by Republican Del. Don B. Hughes.
Here’s where Republicans picked up Democratic seats:
* In District 2B, former House Majority Leader D. Bruce Poole, a Washington County Democrat, lost his seat to a political newcomer, 26-year-old Chris Shank.
* Democratic Del. Ellen Willis Miller lost her seat in Carroll County’s District 5 to Republican Carmen Amedori. Miller was appointed to the seat in 1996.
* District 33 in Anne Arundel County handed an open seat to Republican David Boschert.
* In Harford County’s District 35A, Democratic Del. Michael Comeau lost his seat to a Republican.
Prince George’s County is the only Maryland county that has not counted its absentee ballots. The count is expected to be done by Thursday, said Donna Duncan, director of the election management division of the State Administrative Board of Election Laws. None of the races in the county have vote totals that are close.
Duncan said ballots sent in from overseas have until Friday at 4 p.m. to be received by election offices. The small number of overseas ballots are unlikely to affect the outcome of any of the races, she said. -30-