Republican Robert A. Pascal won a second term as Anne Arundel county executive Tuesday night despite the Democratic Party's 2-to-1 advantage it registered voters. But Democrats won all seven County Council seats.
In Charles County, Republican Loretta Nimmerrichter, a former state delegate, led all candidates for three county commissioner seats. Her victory ousted Democrat Raymond T. Tilghman, president of the Board of Commissioners, who came in fourth in the six-way race.
Meanwhile, Howard County voters decisively defeated a controversial law that would require a deposits on all bottles and cans, a measure strongly opposed by local liquor distributors. The final vote was 17,630 to 10,083. Howard County voters, by a narrower margin of 13,333 to 11,316 approved a bill to prevent 20,000 acres of farmland from being developed.
Pascal, 43, a former all-America college halfback, captured 60 percent of 79,436 votes cast to beat Democrat Elmer E. Dunn, a Pasadena accountant who had run for the office almost as an afterthought.
Sensitive to Democratic registration totals, Pascal had endorsed only one Republican council contender and had declared himself neutral in other contests where he said Democratic incumbents had "made up their minds on partisan grounds.
Pascal and Dunn differed little on issues. Pascal boasted that the county's tax rate is the lowest among Baltimore and Washington area counties. Dunn promised to lower it further.
In Howard County, Democrat J. Hugh Nichols, who upset the incumbent county executive in the September primary, overwhelmingly defeated Republican James B. Ansell by a vote of 22,843 to 5,070. Nichols is a former state delegate and former assistant state budget secretary.
Nichols, a Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Alabama, had campaigned in the primary against what he termed the "machine" politics represented by the all-Democratic County Council. In the post-primary campaign, however, he and the council Democrats were united under the slogan, "A great team for a great county."
While Nichols beat Ansell, a liability lawyer from Ellicott City, the five Democratic council incumbents were easily reelected.
In Howard, the ballot questions generally stirred the most interest and controversy.
Under one of them, an agricultural land preservation measure, the county will buy development rights from farmers proponents put the price tag as low as $30 million but opponents said it could cost taxpayers $100 million.
Tax-conscious Howard voters voted down 13,501 to 9,693 a measure to raise the annual salaries of County Council members from $7,000 to $10,000.