Takoma Park Mayor Stephen J. Del Giudice made history yesterday as he was elected to the Prince George's County Council and became the first write-in candidate to win county or state office in Maryland.

Receiving more than 70 percent of the vote, Del Giudice, a Democrat, won a landslide over incumbent Anthony J. Cicoria (D) and J. Lee Ball (R).

Cicoria, a two-term council member, was convicted two weeks ago of income tax fraud and stealing from his campaign funds.

Although Del Giudice had declared himself victorious immediately after Tuesday's general election, it was not known how many people voted in his race on Election Day until write-in votes were counted by hand yesterday. About 3,000 absentee ballots are to be counted Tuesday.

"I'm overwhelmed by the response of the citizens," said Del Giudice, who had come in second in September's four-candidate Democratic primary that Cicoria won before his conviction. "We knew there were some risks when we started: the amount of difficulty in working the machine, the difficulty in my name."

But, he said, "This effort got the attention of the citizens {who wanted} to move forward and put the unfortunate incidents of the last few months behind them."

After taking office in December, Del Giudice said, he will work to create special county-municipal police drug teams and to include gay rights in the county's human-rights law.

The tallying of write-in votes brought to a close one of the county's most unusual elections.

Despite an impending trial on charges that he and his wife stole $65,324 in campaign money, Cicoria won his Democratic primary.

Then, less than a week before the general election, Cicoria was convicted on the charges of theft, conspiracy and filing false federal income tax statements.

Cicoria's wife, Catherine, was due to go on trial with him but disappeared the weekend before the court procedings began. Law enforcement officials have not been able to locate her.

After Cicoria's conviction and with only five days remaining, Del Giudice, launched his write-in bid with the backing of the county's Democratic Party leadership. Cicoria, who could not take his name off the ballot at that point, threw his support to Del Giudice.

Ball, the Republican nominee, was disavowed by his own party and faced allegations that he had sexually molested a woman four years ago.

Del Giudice received 6,946 votes compared with 1,758 for Cicoria and 1,032 for Ball.

Political observers credit the success of Del Giudice's write-in campaign partially to the backing it received from the well-oiled Democratic machine, which sent three or more workers to each of the district's 19 precincts to answer questions and distribute pencils and rubber stamps to voters.

Also, Democratic officials said, voters in the district, which includes Hyattsville, Mount Rainier and Takoma Park, were fed up with scandal and wanted a fresh start.

"There has never been more of a spontaneous citizen outpouring {that grew} out of frustration and outrage," said County Executive Parris N. Glendening, who was on hand briefly yesterday to watch workers count the write-in votes. "Those of us in the leadership only served as a lightning rod."

At one point the election workers unfurled an eight-foot-long sheet of white paper from a voting machine. Laying it flat on the ground so they could better see, the workers inspected the names penciled or stamped neatly in a column near the top margin. Del Giudice. Del Giudice, repeated some 80 times.

Del Giudice used part of the day yesterday to stake out independent ground on the county budget and crime fighting. He departed somewhat from Glendening's plan to reduce the $50 million projected deficit by sparing the police, fire and corrections departments as employees in other departments are laid off.

Del Giudice said yesterday that if more than the announced 100 employees get pink slips, the county should consider trimming the public safety and Board of Education payrolls as well.

"I do think we have to look at every department," he said.

Before he joins the County Council, Del Giudice must step down as mayor of Takoma Park. The City Council will his appoint his successor, city officials said.