The Montgomery County Board of Elections unofficial count following their tally of provisional and absentee ballots showed Marc Elrich held on to win a tightly contested Democratic Party nomination for county executive.
The count completed on Sunday July 8, showed that in a six-person race, Elrich finished with 37,529 votes (29.02 percent) and businessman David Blair finished with 37,449 votes (28.95 percent).
After early voting and primary election day votes had been tallied, Elrich held a 149-vote lead over Blair. Twelve days later, following the count of absentee and provisional ballots, Elrich’s lead over Blair had shrunk to 80 votes, but remained enough for him to claim victory.
While the absentee and provisional count was underway on July 2, the last day to file a declaration of intent to run as an unaffiliated candidate for county executive, Democratic councilmember Nancy Floreen submitted the required paperwork to the Board of Elections. On Monday, July 9, Floreen submitted paperwork to change her party affiliation to unaffiliated.
On Wednesday, July 11, following the announcement that Elrich had won the Democratic nomination, Floreen released a statement saying, in part, “I want to get things done for all of us. We need to attract good jobs for our people, provide housing for everyone, and reinforce our tax base so we can continue to provide the services people need.”
She added, “The critical interests of Montgomery County families are ill-served when any candidate can prevail with barely 29 percent of the one-third of Democrats who turned out. The Republicans had no choice at all, and the county’s 150,000 independent voters were prevented by law from voting in either contest. There is no mandate here. Most county voters have yet to be heard from.”
To appear on the ballot, Floreen will have to submit more than 6,000 signatures by Aug. 6 and have them verified by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Marc Elrich (D) will now likely face Nancy Floreen (Unaffiliated) and Robin Ficker (R) in the General Election.
The Montgomery County Board of Elections certified the election July 16. A petition for a recount may be submitted within three days. Recent media reports highlighted a letter Blair sent to supporters indicating he would seek a recount. However, WTOP reports Blair is still considering whether to request a recount. The estimated cost to conduct a manual recount is $189,000.
Surprisingly, the Democratic primary race for county executive in Baltimore County finished even closer. Maryland state senator Jim Brochin with 27,795 votes (32.9 percent) finished only nine votes behind former state delegate John “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr. at 27,804 votes (32.9 percent) in a four-person race.
Brochin requested a full manual recount of the vote. After the petitioned manual recount was completed, the Baltimore County Board of Elections website shows Olszewski won by 17 votes (27,820 to 27,803) over Brochin.
The Montgomery County race for county executive has included plenty of intrigue since the passage of term limits in November 2016. Republican candidate for county executive and a long-time political activist Robin Ficker pushed for the passage of term limits and obtained the necessary number of signatures to put this issue on the ballot. Nearly 70 percent of the voters approved limiting the county executive and county council members to three terms in the 2016 General Election.
Democratic County Executive Ike Leggett, who is finishing his third term in office, had already announced this would be his last term. Four of nine councilmembers—Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Roger Berliner and George Leventhal—all Democrats, were impacted by the passage of term limits. With the recent announcement by Floreen, all four of them would run for county executive.
There are a total of 643,888 registered voters in Montgomery County. The breakdown is 380,483 registered Democrats (59.09 percent), 113,221 registered Republicans (17.58 percent) and 150,184 unaffiliated (23.32 percent).
Look to see both Elrich and Floreen seek endorsements from prominent Democratic elected officials.
The General Election will be held Nov. 6.