Alex X. Mooney (R), Maryland's youngest state senator and one of its most vocally conservative, kept his seat yesterday, fending off a challenge by Democrat C. Sue Hecht in a bitterly fought race in Frederick County that was the most expensive state legislative contest in Maryland's history.

Mooney won by a comfortable margin despite the challenge posed by his district being redrawn this year specifically to favor a Democratic opponent.

"I'm just ecstatic," Mooney said, adding that the victory "was larger than we expected."

Hecht said voters "made a concerted decision to keep the current senator. That's what democracy is all about, is the people deciding their leadership." His win followed a trend of Republican victories in Frederick. Of the seven legislative races, only one Democrat, Galen R. Clagett in House District 3A, prevailed.

In Frederick's District 4 Senate Race, Republican David R. Brinkley defeated political newcomer Timothy Schlauch (D).

"We worked very hard. We allocated our resources properly, and I got out and met a lot of people," Brinkley said last night.

In newly drawn House District 3A, Clagett and Republican Patrick N. Hogan won the two open seats, defeating Democrat Dick Zimmerman and Republican Timothy W. Brooks.

In the races for two seats in House District 4A, Republicans Joseph R. Bartlett and Paul S. Stull defeated Democrats Valerie Moore Dale and Dick Franklin. In House District 4B, Lisa Baugher (D) lost to former Frederick County Commissioner Richard B. Weldon Jr. (R).

In the race for five seats on the Frederick Board of County Commissioners, Democrats Jan Gardner and Bruce L. Reeder and Republicans Lennie Thompson, John R. Lovell Jr. and Mike Cady were winners. In the nonpartisan race for four seats on the Board of Education, Michael E. Schaden and Bonnie Smith Borsa, along with incumbents Jean A. Smith and Daryl A. Boffman were elected.

Incumbent State's Attorney Scott L. Rolle (R) kept his job, defeating Dino E. Flores Jr. (D).

The most closely watched races in Frederick were the contests for the General Assembly, where county Democrats had hoped redistricting would help them pick up several seats.

The Senate District 3 contest offered voters the starkest ideological contrast of all the Frederick County races. Mooney and Hecht both waged aggressive campaigns and raised a total of more than $1.15 million.

Mooney is a vocal opponent of abortion, gun control and gay rights, and he primarily centered his campaign on his pledge to not raise taxes. Hecht, a two-term state delegate, focused her campaign on what she said was her record of finessing compromises between the conservative-leaning Frederick delegation and the General Assembly's more liberal leadership.

The race for Senate District 4, which includes Frederick County and parts of Carroll County, featured a Democratic newcomer, Schlauch, and Brinkley, the Republican who gave up a seat in the House of Delegates to run for the Senate. Brinkley beat incumbent Timothy Ferguson in the primary by a ratio of nearly 3 to 2.

In House District 4A, which contains two seats, Democrats Dale and Franklin were working against the odds -- -fighting Bartlett and Stull in Republican-heavy northern Frederick County. Louise Snodgrass, also an incumbent, waged a write-in campaign after losing in the Sept. 10 primary.

In the House District 3B, Baugher, a Democrat, was hoping her local name-recognition would overcome Republican Weldon's experience in local politics. Weldon gave up his seat on the Board of Frederick County Commissioners to run for state office; Baugher is a local activist who organized opposition to a proposed power plant.

In the race for the Board of County Commissioners, controlling growth was the primary issue for the 10 candidates -- five from each party -- vying for five open seats. Dismayed by the current board's slow-growth stances, developers contributed significant sums of cash to candidates of both parties.

Incumbent Thompson, a Republican, has been the most outspoken opponent of new growth on the current board; his campaign ads in local papers advise that "If the developers win, you lose!" The race's only other incumbent, Gardner, tended toward slow growth, but is viewed as a moderate.

Both incumbents retained their seats yesterday.

Growth was also a primary issue in the nonpartisan races for the Board of Education. Yesterday's election, of four new members, gave Frederick its first all-elected school board.