By Len Lazarick
As the election returns came in the night of Nov. 5, 1974, Howard County’s old guard was riding high. It looked like their campaign to “Beat the BLOC VOTE” from Columbia had worked. Republicans would get their first county executive, and car dealer Charlie Miller, who had approved the plans to build Columbia as an elected county commissioner, would get to stay on the County Council.
But as the results from Columbia precincts poured in later, elation turned to shock. The new town had voted overwhelmingly for the liberal slate of Democratic candidates, nine to one. People who had lived in Howard County for just a few years beat the old timers.
Three of the five new County Council members actually lived in Columbia, and one, Dick Anderson, was even a former general manager of Howard Research and Development Corp., the Rouse Co. division building the planned community. A fourth, Lloyd Knowles, had moved near Columbia because of the new town, and the new county executive, County Council Member Ed Cochran, a mild-mannered research chemist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab where Knowles also worked, was seen as liberal, too. Only Cochran was born or raised in Maryland.
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