The Sun's picks in selected General Assembly and County Council races

Ebersole, a long-time Catonsville resident and math teacher at River Hill High School in Columbia, would bring three decades of education experience and smart views on the environment and job creation. Both Lam, a physician and a former legislative staffer for Del. Dan Morhaim, and Hill, a plastic surgeon, would bring health care experience to a legislature that needs it. Lam, a Columbia resident, also pledges to bring a progressive voice to the district and we like his ideas on a progressive tax plan. Hill, also a Columbia resident, makes the environment and support for small businesses among her priorities.

There is no primary in the district's senate race.

 42nd District

State Sen. Jim Brochin annoys just about everyone (us included) at one point or another. That alone seems to be the basis of his challenge by former Del. Connie DeJuliis, who has predicated her campaign on the idea that she is a real Democrat and he is not. Ms. DeJuliis decries Mr. Brochin's willingness to break with his party and his propensity to change his mind — gay marriage and gun control among the most prominent examples. Indeed, he sometimes comes down on what, from our perspective, is the wrong side on big issues, as in his opposition to Maryland's version of the Dream Act. But since when is a willingness to listen to the evidence and change one's mind a bad thing? Another reliable vote for the Democratic leadership is not what Annapolis needs, and it's almost certainly not what the 42nd District wants. Mr. Brochin gets our endorsement.

The new 42nd includes a Democratic-leaning one-member district in the south, where incumbent Del. Steve Lafferty is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. But the race in Republican-leaning District 42-B is much more contentious, with GOP incumbent Dels. Susan Aumann and Joseph Boteler III facing challenges from attorney Chris West and Jesse Filamor. Ms. Aumann has consistently demonstrated herself to be a caring and thoughtful lawmaker during her three terms in Annapolis, and she is extremely attentive to issues of importance to her constituents. Delegate Aumann gets our endorsement. Among the other candidates, Chris West, a long-time Republican activist and first-time candidate, stands out. He combines moderation on social issues with a focus on improving Maryland's business climate through tax and regulatory reform. He has a realistic sense of how he, as a Republican, could influence legislation in a Democrat-dominated General Assembly, and he brings welcome expertise on issues related to state pensions and education policy.

44th District

Thanks to redistricting, the residents of the Catonsville area have the opportunity to elect two new delegates in a district that was once entirely within Baltimore City. Five Democrats, none with any experience in elected office, are running. Rainier Harvey and Charles Sydnor are the best among them.

Mr. Harvey, a Windsor Mill resident, is a veteran and former police officer who now serves on the Baltimore County Planning Board. While this is his first campaign for public office, he is nevertheless familiar with the world of politics, having served as political director for Del. Adrienne Jones, who had represented the area when it was part of District 10.

Mr. Sydnor, a Catonsville resident, is an attorney with a Columbia company founded by James Rouse that seeks to create opportunity for low- and moderate income people through affordable housing. A Johns Hopkins University graduate who focused on educational policymaking in graduate school at UMBC, he will bring a thoughtful, intelligent approach to matters before the General Assembly.

County Council District 2

First-term County Councilwoman Vicki Almond is facing a rematch from her opponent in 2010, Jon Herbst. Then a Republican, Mr. Herbst has switched parties and is now challenging her in the primary, and the 36-year-old attorney has the backing of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and state Sen. Bobby Zirkin (for whom Ms. Almond once worked as chief of staff). Much of the issue at hand revolves around Ms. Almond's handling of the approval of the Foundry Row project in Owings Mills, which will include a Wegmans grocery store. Indeed, we agree that her enthusiasm for the project appeared to get ahead of the process, but we also get the sense that dissatisfaction with the final result is concentrated among rival developers rather than Ms. Almond's constituents.

Mr. Herbst says the district needs someone with the skills and background that Mr. Kamenetz brought to the council when he represented the 2nd and that Ms. Almond squanders too much goodwill by disagreeing with the executive. However, we think the council needs someone like Ms. Almond, with her decades of experience in community work and her willingness to ask tough questions about the administration's policies. She has our endorsement.

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