The hard-fought Primary Election, which puzzled many political observers due to the number of candidates, continues to leave many with questions even after polls have closed. The Democratic nominee for County Executive race remains in question. The top two vote-getters are separated by less than 500 votes.
Current Councilmember Marc Elrich and political newcomer and businessman David Blair have separated themselves from the four other Democratic candidates, but Elrich holds a slim 452 vote lead as of 12:45 am with 251 of 255 election precincts reported, and the absentee and provisional ballots still uncounted.
As of the last official release of numbers at 12:15 am on Thursday morning after the polls had closed, Elrich had garnered 34,729 votes, while David Blair had garnered 34,277 votes. Former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow, who many believed entered the race too late, garnered 17,999 votes. The two other current members of the County Council Roger Berliner and George Leventhal earned 15,290 and 12,186 votes respectively, while former Democratic Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates Bill Frick garnered just 4,268 votes.
The winner of the Democratic Primary will eventually face the winner of the Republican Primary in November. The Republican candidate is Boyds resident, Robin Ficker, who ran unopposed for the nomination on Tuesday. Ficker garnered 11,178 votes from Republicans in an election which the MCGOP did not need to turn out for in local races.
The final results of the election may not be known for 10 days, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
“There is a standard process that we follow which is prescribed in Maryland Election Law for canvassing the absentee and provisional ballots,” said Marjorie Roher, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Board of Elections. “It is a process which takes place over the next ten days. Tomorrow will count the first set of absentee ballots.”
Roher said the County has issued approximately 14,900 absentee ballots, and the Board of Elections will be canvassing about 5,000 tomorrow. The second canvass of absentee ballots will take place on Thursday, July 6.
After the Absentee Ballots are completed, the provisional ballots will be canvassed. “Provisional ballots are issued to voters whose name does not appear in the poll book or their name appears at a different address from where they are currently living. In that case, they are issued a provisional ballot, and that ballot is held back. It is not scanned in on election night, to be researched by staff to verify the person’s eligibility to vote. Once that is done, the provisional ballots which are deemed eligible to vote are counted during the provisional ballot canvass,” said Roher.
She said the Board of Elections would begin canvassing the first batch of eligible ballots next Thursday, July 5. She said the number of Provisional Ballots is “a fluid number,” but she said there were about of 3,600 provisional ballots.
Blair addressed his supporters briefly last night. “Eight months ago we were unknown, and now we are in a fight for our lives in a neck and neck race. We have so much to celebrate,” Blair told supporters gathered at his election night headquarters. “We are going to celebrate our friendships. Our old friendships and new ones. We are going to celebrate our diversity. We are going to celebrate our integrity. When our competitors went negative, and they did. We didn’t follow. We held our heads up high. We will all sleep well knowing that we ran an extremely positive campaign focused on the issues that matter most.”
Photo by Germantown Pulse.