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Maryland voter turnout lowest in years for primary

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Local,Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — With voter turnout at its lowest in memory for a Maryland primary, lawmakers from both parties in the Legislature lost races around the state, but most incumbents withstood primary challenges or ran unopposed.

Turnout for Tuesday's primary was about 21 percent, according to the state elections board, not including absentee and provisional ballots. That compares with about 25 percent in 2010; 30 percent in 2006; 31 percent in 2002; 29 percent in 1998; 40 percent in 1994; and 33 percent in 1990. Numbers for turnout in the 1986 primary were not available. Turnout in 1984 was about 30 percent. This year's primary was unusually early for Maryland. It was moved from September to June to comply with federal rules requiring states to send ballots to members of the military and other Americans overseas.

Republican Sen. David Brinkley, who is the Senate minority leader, was one of the most prominent state lawmakers to lose. Del. Michael Hough, who ran as the more conservative candidate, defeated Brinkley with 68 percent of the vote to 32 percent in the western Maryland race.

On the Eastern Shore, Republican Sen. Richard Colburn lost to Del. Adelaide Eckardt. Cecil County Republican Del. Michael Smigiel also fell short in his race. In Anne Arundel County, Republican Del. Don Dwyer, who missed voting sessions this year during the legislative session because he was serving a jail sentence on weekends after he drunkenly operated a boat in a crash that injured seven people, came in sixth in an eight-way primary.

Some Democratic incumbents also were defeated. Baltimore Del. Keiffer Mitchell and Del. Melvin Stukes both lost in a district that had been reconfigured in legislative redistricting to only one House seat instead of three. Del. Keith Haynes won the district. Also in Baltimore, incumbent Del. Shawn Tarrant was defeated.

Some longtime Democratic delegates lost Senate primary races. Democratic Del. Luiz Simmons lost his primary bid for a Montgomery County Senate seat to former Del. Cheryl Kagan. Del. Melony Griffith, of Prince George's County, was defeated by incumbent Sen. Ulysses Currie.

Sen. Richard Madaleno, an openly gay Montgomery County lawmaker, defeated Dana Beyer, an openly transgender candidate, with 58 percent of the vote to 42.

Baltimore Sen. Nathaniel McFadden easily beat back a highly publicized challenge by political consultant Julius Henson, who served a 30-day jail term in 2012 after being convicted of conspiracy for robocalls he made on Election Day in 2010.

Delegates from both parties lost races in campaigns for statewide office. Del. Aisha Braveboy, D-Prince George's, and Del. Jon Cardin both lost the Democratic primary race for attorney general, which was won by Sen. Brian Frosh, of Montgomery County. Republican Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, of Talbot County, ran as Harford County Executive David Craig's running mate in an unsuccessful gubernatorial primary bid. Democratic Del. Jolene Ivey, of Prince George's County, was Attorney General Doug Gansler's running mate in his unsuccessful bid for governor.

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