- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the Rev. Willie F. Wilson both claimed victory last night in the District's Democratic mayoral primary, even though the results will not be known for at least another week as election officials count thousands of write-in ballots.

"The sun was shining the people have spoken, and we are enjoying the victory tonight," Mr. Wilson said at a victory party at El Tamarindo restaurant in Northwest.

"From the voter turnout, as I stopped people going in and exiting, there was overwhelming support for me," Mr. Williams said after closing the polling site at Shepherd Elementary in Northwest.

Both candidates had waged write-in campaigns. Election officials said voter turnout was significant.

The Rev. Douglas E. Moore led the four candidates whose names appeared on the Democratic ballot, receiving 4,023 votes of those cast in 105 of the District's 141 precincts, election officials reported at 10:30 p.m. More than 91 percent of the ballots, however, were write-ins.

* In Maryland, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend won the Democratic primary for governor, and Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the Republican primary. With 1,153 of 1,768 precincts reporting, Mrs. Townsend led retired Giant Food clerk Robert Raymond Fustero, 79 percent to 21 percent. Mr. Ehrlich won with 92 percent of the vote against James J. Sheridan and Ross Z. Pierpont, who each had 4 percent.

Mr. Ehrlich said he had been confident of a victory and was focusing his attention on his race with Mrs. Townsend. "We have always had our eye on the November elections, but I believe in treating all competitors with respect," he said last night.

* In Maryland's 8th Congressional District, with 89 percent of the precincts in Montgomery County reporting, state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen led state Delegate Mark K. Shriver, 30,885 votes to 26,525. The winner will challenge U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella, the Republican who has held that seat since 1987.

* In the Democratic race for Prince George's County executive, with 80 percent of the vote counted, State's Attorney Jack Johnson led with 36 percent of the vote. In the Republican primary, council member Audrey Scott won the nomination over Michelle Brown, 75 percent to 25 percent.

Meanwhile, former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry expressed confidence that his support for Mr. Wilson in the Democratic primary ensured a victory for the Baptist pastor.

"I turned a few votes around, and I brought a lot of votes to him," Mr. Barry told reporters at the Wilson campaign party.

He said he campaigned for Mr. Wilson around the city yesterday and mobilized his political machine.

Mr. Barry arrived at the restaurant before the Democratic candidate, and Wilson supporters began chanting "Barry, Barry, Barry." The former mayor stopped them and led them in a chant of "Wilson, Wilson, Wilson."

But all did not go smoothly at the polls yesterday. In Towson, a Democratic poll judge tried unsuccessfully to stop Mrs. Townsend from voting because the phalanx of photographers following her was making a scene.

The judge, identified as Omar Pulliam by Baltimore County Board of Elections clerk Tiffany Guthrie, at first tried to stop reporters from recording and photographing Mrs. Townsend as she voted. He then tried to prevent her from casting her ballot.

Mrs. Townsend's spokeswoman, Kate Philips, intervened and told Mr. Pulliam, "She can vote, this is her right, she can vote."

The judge then walked away.

After voting, Mrs. Townsend released a statement saying, "One of the most important parts of protecting our nation's commitment to fair and open elections is access to the elections process by the news media.

"This morning, news media representatives were, for a short time, denied traditional and open access to the elections process," the statement said.

"At no time was any voter disenfranchised or at risk of being disenfranchised. But on Election Day, it's important that we review and remember our commitment to open elections, and the news media's important role in that open elections process."

The incident at Ridge Ruxton School was videotaped and broadcast by Baltimore television station WMAR-TV.

Mrs. Townsend's challenger, Mr. Fustero, said he was not surprised to receive about 20 percent of the primary vote. "I was expecting maybe 30 percent," he said.

"I think we just struck a chord with a segment of the Democratic Party that's dissatisfied with the current crop of Democratic leaders," Mr. Fustero, 51, of Silver Spring, told The Washington Times.

Mr. Fustero's running mate, Linda J. Atkins, 43, of College Park, was homeless for 10 years. His only other political experience was an unsuccessful run for Maryland's 8th Congressional District seat more than 20 years ago. Mr. Fustero said he does not plan on using this experience as a springboard for a political career.

In the District, where turnout was reported to be good, Mr. Moore led the other Democratic candidates on the mayoral primary ballot - Faith, James W. Clark and Osie L. Thorpe.

The Republican Party did not have a mayoral candidate, but 2,468 write-in votes were tallied. D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz was the write-in Republican candidate.

In the D.C. council races, member Jim Graham won the Ward 1 Democratic Party primary by a landslide, beating out four challengers.

In the Democratic primary election for the Ward 3 seat on the D.C. Council, incumbent Kathy Patterson defeated challenger Erik S. Gaull. She will face Republican nominee Eric Rojo who ran unopposed for his party's nomination. Vincent Orange and Sharon Ambrose were leading their closest opponents in wards 5 and 6.

In the Republican primary for attorney general in Maryland, Baltimore lawyer Edwin MacVaugh and Jeffrey N. Pritzker, also a lawyer from Baltimore, are in a contest to take on Democratic Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. in November. Mr. Curran did not face any opposition in the Democratic primary.

In the race for comptroller, Republicans will choose between Augustus Alzona of Montgomery County and Gene Zarwell of Anne Arundel County. Comptroller William Donald Schaefer was leading in the Democratic primary with 64 percent of the vote to challenger John T. Willis' 34 percent.In the Democratic race for Prince George's County sheriff, Michael Jackson was competing against Alonzo Black.

The mayor's race in the District has been hounded by controversy after Mr. Williams, considered a shoo-in for a re-election, was removed from the primary ballot July 26 by the elections board after more than 60 percent of the signatures on his nominating petitions were found to be forged. He also was fined $250,000, the largest fine of its kind in the city's history. The mayor stayed with the Democratic Party, re-entering the race as a write-in candidate.

Mr. Williams, who beat out challenger Kevin Chavous in the last primary election with 45,216 votes to 31,499, has received endorsements from several groups, including the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Minority Business Coalition, The Washington Times and The Washington Post.

Local Republicans are asking their members to write in council member Carol Schwartz's name on the Republican primary ballot and asking her to accept the nomination.

Elections board spokesman Bill O'Field said the board will begin counting votes at 9 a.m. today until close of business at 4:30 p.m. The schedule will continue through the workweek and pick up again on Monday.

Arlo Wagner, Jabeen Bhatti, Patrick Badgley, Jim Keary, Adrienne T. Washington, Guy Taylor, Mary Shaffrey, Jon Ward, Phillip Caston, Liz Boch and Liz Babiarz contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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