Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), the two leaders of the county's Democratic slate of candidates, sailed past challengers in elections that were widely viewed as a test of the long-dominant Democratic Party machine.
Glendening defeated 16-year County Council member Floyd E. Wilson Jr., 74 percent to 17 percent, numbers that the incumbent interpreted as a vote of confidence.
"Our analysis shows a win across the county. Most important, the results are the same for the black and white communities," Glendening said. "What I see is that some of the last-minute racial appeals didn't work. Voters voted on the record. I feel really good about the future of Prince George's County."
Wilson would not concede and said he would comment on the results today.
Hoyer, who bought television advertisements for the first time since he was first elected to Congress to fend off a challenge by Nation of Islam national spokesman Abdul Alim Muhammad, won 79 percent to 21 percent.
"A statement has been made by the voters in this election," Hoyer said. "In every precinct, in every district of our county, the citizens voted on merit, policies, abilities and commitment, and the content of character, not the color skin."
In one of the tightest races in the county, state Sen. Decatur W. Trotter defeated Tommie Broadwater Jr. 46 percent to 44 percent, ending Broadwater's comeback bid for the legislative seat he held until he was convicted of conspiracy and food stamp fraud. Broadwater said he may seek a recount.
The proliferation of independent black candidates such as Muhammad and Wilson punctuated an election year in which a record number of challengers took on well-entrenched incumbents. One of those independents, Del. Gloria Gary Lawlah, narrowly defeated incumbent Sen. Frank J. Komenda 52 percent to 48 percent.
In another legislative race that pitted an incumbent against a black delegate, Sen. Albert R. Wynn beat Juanita Miller 59 pecent to 41 percent.
Sen. Leo E. Green defeated opponents Terezie S. Bohrer and D.J. Campbell in a race that focused on abortion.
The six incumbent council members convincingly defeated their challengers.
Anthony J. Cicoria, who is facing trial on charges of theft and tax evasion, won 35 percent of the vote over challengers Stephen J. Del Giudice, with 25 percent, Margaret S. Mallino, with 16 percent, and Doyle Niemann, with 24 percent.
"Tony had enough residual knee-jerk loyalty that they would go out and vote for him even without campaigning," Niemann said. "We did basically everything you could do but we weren't able to cut into that."
County Council member Richard J. Castaldi defeated G. Frederick Robinson 57 percent to 43 percent. Council member Jo Ann T. Bell, a white candidate in a largely black district, won with 63 percent of the vote over two black challengers, Linwood Jones and Bennie Thayer.
"As different as all of you are in this room, that's what makes the future of Prince George's County so good and today, by God, we showed them that," Bell told supporters last night.
The number of new candidates introduced a new aspect to county politics, with several races pitting black candidates against each other.
The race to fill the council seat vacated by Wilson attracted four black Democratic newcomers: Brown, James C. Fletcher Jr., Fred Price Jr. and Donjuan Lee Williams. Fletcher won with 48 percent of the vote.
In a new twist, several black candidates, including Brown and Wilson, formed a coalition led by Muhammad. Although he is a political newcomer who ran a bare-bones campaign, Muhammad created unease in county political circles with a campaign that focused on racial pride and political oppression.
With the county's black population likely to exceed 50 percent in the new census figures, most of the county's black and white politicians are trying to build multi-ethnic coalitions.
Most independent challengers, such as Muhammad and Wilson, were widely viewed as underdogs. But several voters interviewed yesterday said they welcomed the greater range of choices even if they chose a slate candidate.
"I am glad to see more people getting involved in the electoral process, but I operate under the theory if it ain't broke don't fix it," said Phyllis Hines, of Landover. "The more people that challenge the incumbents, the harder they'll work to hold on to their jobs. Competition is good for everybody."
In the county executive's race, Wilson was the best known of three candidates who ran uphill campaigns to unseat incumbent Glendening, who leads the county's Democratic slate along with Hoyer. The other two are Arthur B. Haynes and Artie L. Polk.
County Council member Anne T. MacKinnon, who was appointed to the seat vacated by James Herl, defeated four challengers in the Democratic primary: Travis Britt Sr., James A. Green, Rose Marie Hurdle and Dervey A. Lomax.
MacKinnon got 55 percent of the vote. Incumbents Sue V. Mills and F. Kirwan Wineland also won handily.
Cicoria's legal problems did little to tarnish his image among some of his constituents.
One primary was held for the school board, a race to fill the seat vacated by Angelo I. Castelli (District 8). James M. Davis, and Frederick Hutchinson advanced to the general election in November. The race focused largely on the discrepancies in school funding for specialized magnet programs and general neighborhood schools.
Sheriff James V. Aluisi (D) easily beat challengers Frederick Jones and Lawrence E. Keval.