Second place finisher for Democratic nomination for County Executive lost by 79 votes
On Tuesday, Democratic Candidate for Montgomery County Executive and businessman David Blair said he plans to request a recount from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Blair, who lost the Democratic Primary to Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large), said in a letter to supporters that given how close the race was, it is worth requesting a recount. On Monday, the Montgomery County Board of Elections certified Elrich’s victory, as he defeated Blair by 79 votes.
“We share the desire to have a nominee chosen in a timely manner so the party can come together and prepare for the General Election,” Blair said. “On the other hand, we fully believe that participation in the electoral process is the hallmark of our democracy, and it is imperative that all ballots are accurately counted.”
Recounts in Maryland must be filed within three days after an election is certified, which means Blair has until Thursday to file his recount petition. According to state law, Blair will have to pay for the cost of the recount, but will be refunded if the results of the election change. The recount process will take about a week of work.
While six candidates ran in June’s Democratic Primary, Elrich and Blair emerged as the frontrunners by the end of Election Day. Just one day before the election, a computer error dropped thousands of voters from the state voter rolls, causing many to have to file a provisional ballot on Election Day.
After all the ballots were counted more than a week ago, the Board of Elections went and audited the ballots and certified Elrich as the winner on Monday.
“I want to thank the Democratic voters of Montgomery County for selecting me to be the Democratic nominee for County Executive,” Elrich said in a statement. “I also want to thank all the other candidates who ran in the primary; we participated in numerous forums and answered more than 60 questionnaires. It was an exhaustive process where we discussed many of the pressing needs of our County with people from all over.”
While Elrich and Blair were within 500 votes of one another after Election Day, County election officials began County absentee and provisional ballots, which shrunk Elrich’s lead. Blair has said the issues with the state’s voter rolls factored into his decision to ask for a recount.
“We have concerns with the tabulated results after hearing from voters who experienced difficulties during Early Vote and on Election Day coupled with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s voter registration technical errors, which resulted in thousands more provisional ballots than in previous elections,” Blair said.
After the Board of Elections counted all the ballots, making Elrich the unofficial winner of the Democratic Primary, he said he was not worried about a potential recount, saying there was just as much of a likelihood that the recount would increase his vote tally as reduce it.
If the results hold, Elrich will face Republican nominee, attorney and political activist Robin Ficker, and fellow at-large County Council member, independent candidate Nancy Floreen in November’s general election.