When Howard County Executive Elizabeth Bobo was asked whether the voters who ousted her thought she wasn't trying hard enough to control growth, she said, "No way." And for proof, she said, "Look at Angie."

County Council member Angela Beltram (D-District 2), soundly defeated by Republican Darrel Drown, was considered even more of a growth-control advocate than Bobo.

If Bobo was the growth-control barracuda, Beltram was the tiger shark. Beltram wanted western Howard County zoned in 20-acre lots, a proposal that incensed farmers and other rural landowners. She proposed an "adequate public facilities" law long before Bobo did. And she was probably the most consistent vote against exceptions to zoning laws.

Could voters be saying that even she was not slow-growth enough?

No, say civic activists, Beltram and Republican officials. Beltram, they say, was done in by an aggressive, well-oiled GOP machine that produced a sizable turnout of people who voted the party ticket from council up to governor.

Add to that a general voter disgruntlement, some thorny local issues that hurt Beltram in key districts and the 51-year-old incumbent's bluntness, and the result was the most decisive defeat in an election that one Ellicott City Democrat called "a blood bath" for the party.

"The Republicans found a train to go on. And they were all on it, pulling in the same direction," said Howard Strayer, a Democratic precinct captain.

"Each of us was doing our own thing. We ran good elections, but we were running them on our own," Beltram said. "In the future, we have to figure out what the Democrats are, we have to tell people to vote the straight party, like {Republicans} did."

Beltram lost to Drown, 39, a Howard County Board of Education budget officer, who received 56 percent of the vote. Four years ago, when Drown first ran against her, she won by 822 votes. County election officials expect to release statistics tomorrow on voter turnout broken down by party.

One costly issue for Beltram was the protracted Grayrock Drive controversy, which pitted two Ellicott City neighborhoods against each other. Beltram has supported the completion of Grayrock, a road that stops on one side of the Dorsey Hall community and resumes on the other.

She has sided, in essence, with the nearby St. John's Lane community, which maintains that Grayrock would relieve present and future congestion in that community.

"Angie completely alienated the Dorsey Hall community with her stance on Grayrock," said Tom Draper, who opposes construction of the connector. "It would really split a neighborhood in two."

Drown supports connecting the two sides of Grayrock, but "he's made some more gestures to the community," Draper said.

Beltram stood by her position and said she had made efforts to talk to Dorsey Hall residents.

"I started out conceding that I was going to lose that precinct. And I did," she said.

Beltram and others argue that the more important phenomenon was Republican hustle. Since 1986, the party has been registering an increasing number of people in the fast-growing district. The 2nd District now has three majority Democratic precincts and 12 with Republican majorities.

"Angie's district is where the biggest {GOP} gains were," said former Democratic Central Committee member David Marker. "People in Ellicott City clearly wanted the slow growth Angie was pushing; that could not have been a problem."

Said Beltram: "This was not a good year to run."