- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jack B. Johnson emerged victorious yesterday in his re-election bid for Prince George’s County executive, surviving an unexpectedly fierce challenge from a candidate he defeated soundly four years ago.

Mr. Johnson held a solid lead at 4 p.m. over former state delegate Rushern L. Baker III in the Democratic primary. With 99 percent of the county’s 206 precincts reporting, Mr. Johnson had 51,863 votes, or 52 percent. Mr. Baker had 46,435 votes, or 48 percent.

“I want to thank the citizens of this county for believing I should do it one last time,” Mr. Johnson said yesterday during a press conference at his Largo campaign headquarters. “In the coming four year, I’ll work just as hard as I did the last four years. More importantly, I will achieve.”

Johnson spokesman Jim Keary said Mr. Baker called to concede at 3:05 p.m. Calls to Mr. Baker’s campaign office were not returned.

Mr. Johnson, 57, once considered a lock in his re-election bid, found himself in a dogfight in the closing weeks as Mr. Baker’s campaign gained support and key endorsements.

There is no Republican in the race.

The two candidates were neck and neck when precincts began reporting early Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson eventually pulled ahead, the small gap widening enough for him to claim victory yesterday at about 1 a.m.

Mr. Johnson staked his re-election bid on the county’s economic turnaround since he took office in 2002. He cites increasing the county’s budget by more than $1 billion as one of his major achievements.

Mr. Baker, 47, an education institute director, challenged Mr. Johnson at nearly every turn, most notably on the issues of education, public safety and economic development.

Mr. Baker was endorsed by county State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, and former County Executives Wayne K. Curry, Parris N. Glendening and Winfield M. Kelly.

County voters played a key part in the outcome of the 4th District congressional race between incumbent Democrat Albert R. Wynn and challenger Donna Edwards.

With 97 percent of the district’s 171 precincts reporting, Mr. Wynn had 36,141 votes, or 50 percent, and Mrs. Edwards had 33,290 votes, or 46 percent.

The district extends into Montgomery County but is largely in Prince George’s County.

With 99 percent of the 104 precincts in Prince George’s County reporting, Mr. Wynn had 30,110 votes, or 57 percent, and Mrs. Edwards had 21,161 votes, or 39 percent.

Mr. Wynn, elected in 1992, faced considerable opposition for the first time in his re-election bids. The race turned negative, in part, with Mrs. Edwards saying Mr. Wynn is too conservative to represent his predominantly black constituency. And a brief altercation between campaign staffers occurred last month during a candidates forum in Largo.

In races for County Council seats, seven of the nine incumbents retained their positions.

Council Chairman Thomas E. Dernoga, a Democrat, ran unopposed in District 1.

Ingrid M. Turner, a Democrat, won the race in the 4th District to replace Douglas J.J. Peters, a Democrat running for state Senate.

Eric C. Olson defeated Florence Hendershot for the 3rd District council seat, the county’s most heavily contested race.

With 100 percent of the district’s 23 precincts reporting, Mr. Olson, a Democrat, had 3,299 votes, or 41 percent, to Mrs. Hendershot’s 2,339 votes, or 30 percent.

Mr. Olson will face Republican James A. Wildoner in the November general election to succeed Mrs. Hendershot’s husband, Democrat Thomas R. Hendershot, who cannot run because of term limits.



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