The Prince George’s County Board of Elections has finished counting the ballots for the District 2 county council race and according to unofficial results, Deni Taveras is the winner.
According to Daneen Banks, deputy elections administrator, after counting 23 absentee ballots in district 2, Deni Taveras leads state Delegate Doyle Niemann (D-41) by six votes with a total of 2,423 compared to 2,417 for Niemann.
Results do not become official until all of the ballots for the county have been counted, Banks said. Once the results are official, candidates may ask for a recount.
“I feel the voters have spoken,” said Taveras. “I’ve been someone who’s been working in the community to reach out to people.”
Taveras said she knocked on approximately 1,700 doors for an extra push in winning voters endorsements with a close-knit crew of 19 volunteers. When it came down to Election Day, Taveras said she had more than 100 volunteers helping to sway undecided voters and push for the final couple of votes.
“She went very hard in community outreach, which made the difference,” said Niemann. “I was disappointed with the outcome, but that was the way the voters voted.”
Board of Elections official Alisha Alexander said this was the closest election she’s seen in 11 years in working with the board.
Banks said there has not been any additional pressure, but it has taken a little bit longer to count the ballots because the vote was so close.
Taveras said she built her platform on economic development and wants to make strides to improve schools in District 2 and community programs, while taking into account public interests and recommendations.
“Now it’s time to cut down to business,” said Taveras. “I think [constituents are] looking forward to having a responsive government.”
Taveras said she wants to dispel the notion that she only focused on the Latino community. She could not have won if she had focused only on the Latino vote, she said.
“We made a little bit of an extra effort to engage people that are not typically engaged in voting,” Taveras said.
Niemann said he won the absentee vote, but said the provisional votes went to Taveras due to the number of first-time voters filling them out. Niemann also cited Taveras’s community outreach as a reason for her win.
Niemann said he knocked on most of the doors in the area once and a majority of the doors twice. He had bilingual volunteers to help him provide better outreach to the community, but said, while Taveras did not win the entire Latino vote, she won a majority of the Latino community due to her connection with the community.
“Identity politics is a strong sort of politics,” said Niemann. “She was able to say she’s black, she’s Latina, she’s a woman and that appeals to a large group of people.”
Niemann has until Thursday to decide if he wants a recount of the votes. He said he was disappointed but thought the Taveras deserved the win.
“We’re weighing our options right now, ” said Niemann. “I always trust that when door closes another opens up.”
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