Lawyer Scott P. Boylan got the surprise of his life when he arrived home late last Thursday, opened a letter from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics and discovered that he had won the Republican nomination for D.C. Council chairman.

"I was completely shocked," Boylan said yesterday. "At first I thought somebody played a practical joke on me."

But it was no practical joke. Boylan, with two write-in votes, won the Republican nomination and the right to oppose Democrat John A. Wilson on Nov. 6, the elections board certified this week. In addition, Keith Mario Wilkerson, with one write-in vote, will carry the standard of the D.C. Statehood Party this fall.

Boylan and Wilkerson were among several people who didn't run for office in the Sept. 11 primary, but who will be on the general election ballot because nobody else from their party pursued the job.

Leon Frederick Hunt won the Statehood Party nomination for D.C. delegate with two write-in votes, Jeffrey G. Johnson won the Republican nomination for Ward 5 council member with one vote and R. Bradford McMahon won the Statehood Party nomination for Ward 6 council member with one vote.

Keith Mario Wilkerson won the D.C. Statehood nomination for one of the two shadow senator positions up for grabs this year.

Yes, that's the same Keith Mario Wilkerson running for D.C. Council chairman. According to election board spokeswoman Leona Agouridis, the District's restriction against candidates running for more than one office does not apply to the shadow senator job.

In races where a party does not field a candidate, the board of elections counts the write-in votes and goes down the list of vote-getters in search of a nominee to put on the ballot.

For instance, in the council chairman's race, Wilson actually won the Republican primary with 192 votes. But D.C. law prohibits people from running on more than one party's ticket. Former council member Carol Schwartz won 12 votes, but declined the nomination, as did unsuccessful Republican delegate candidate Roffle Mayes Miller, who had six votes.

That left Boylan, who after a day of pondering the race decided to challenge Wilson, who won the Democratic primary with more than 75 percent of the vote.

Boylan, 30, who says he hails from the "Republican stronghold" of Lancaster, Pa., said he called the D.C. Republican Party and discovered it had decided not to field a candidate in the chairman's race. "I have a fundamental problem with that," he said. "I think there should be some competition in the nation's capital."