Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor is going to be a hard act to follow. A prominent Republican, she has served with distinction for 30 years, overseeing an office of well-respected lawyers who have followed her tough-on-crime lead. With her retirement this year, the election offers the first truly contested race for state's attorney in nearly two decades. It promises new leadership, a new direction and a chance for Democrats to reclaim the office. There is no Republican primary. .