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Incumbent Baltimore Mayor Wins Primary

September 10, 2003

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Democratic Mayor Martin O’Malley handily won his party’s primary Tuesday and advanced to a general election that, because of unusual circumstances, won’t be held for 14 months.

With nearly all precincts reporting, O’Malley led Andrey Bundley 66 percent to 32 percent, or 56,085 votes to 27,295.

In Baltimore, where 87 percent of registered voters are Democrats, the party’s primary winner almost always prevails in the general election.

At a victory rally, O’Malley said the city has made progress in fighting drug crime and improving schools. But, he said, much remains to be done.

``So long as any one of our children can’t go to his or her own playground for fear of needles, for fear of drug dealers, then better isn’t good enough,″ the mayor said.

The unusually long gap between the primary and general election came after city voters decided in a referendum to synchronize Baltimore’s general election with the U.S. presidential voting cycle.

The scheduling quirk provided Baltimore national headlines because it gave some 16-year-olds the chance to vote.

Despite all the publicity, Tuesday’s turnout was about 35 percent, the same as for the primary four years ago, the city elections office said.

O’Malley, 40, ran against several little-known opponents. The runner-up, Bundley, is a high school principal making his first run for political office.

O’Malley is a former City Council member elected four years ago to his first term as mayor. He had a huge financial advantage with a war chest of $2.8 million. Bundley, by contrast, raised about $126,000.

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