Elrich Keeps Lead as Blair Gains 20

David Blair caught up by 20 votes yesterday. He now trails incumbent County Executive Marc Elrich by 276 votes. A total of 98,724 valid votes have been counted in the Democratic primary with 25,637 being mail ballots.

According to the Montgomery County Board of Elections Twitter account, there are lots of mail and provisional ballots yet to come with an unofficial mail-in total of 68,975 ballots and provisional total of 8,030 ballots. This includes Democrats, Republicans and others. The mail-in total will grow as additional ballots are received.


Glassman Rejects Cox

Hartford County Executive Barry Glassman and self-described Hogan Republican is the Republican nominee for comptroller. Glassman has disassociated himself from radical insurrectionist Dan Cox, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. He made this clear in a reply on Twitter to Ryan Miner of the A Miner Detail blog and site:

Glassman further made clear in The Daily Record clear that, unlike Cox, he accepts the legitimacy of the 2020 election:

The self-described Hogan Republican acknowledged he has little in common with Cox, though again he didn’t mention him by name.

When asked if being a self-described “Larry Hogan Republican” meant he rejected the Trump-Cox brand of Republicanism, Glassman said: “Yes. The short answer is yes.”

“I’m on the record. The election was valid. It was not stolen. Mike Pence is not a traitor,” said Glassman.

Nothing radical here but that’s the point.

Kudos to Glassman who faces an uphill fight in the comptroller’s race but can hold his high regardless of the outcome.


How Many Votes are Left to Count in MoCo?

In the Governor’s race in Montgomery County, there are currently 16,540 valid mail votes for Democrats and 1,781 for Republicans. So of the 18,321 votes, 90.3% were in the Democratic primary. There are also a tiny number of unaffiliated voters who can only vote for school board.

Voters tend to “roll off” the ballot as they move to down ballot contests. But that’s not happening in the hotly contested county executive Democratic primary. 16,730 Democrats cast valid votes in that contest. Republicans conform to the normal pattern with just 1,523 votes cast.

There are roughly 68,000 mail ballots, so there should be around 61,400 total Democratic ballots if the party breakdown stays the same. That leaves around 44,700 Democratic ballots left to be counted by my seat of the iPhone estimation. Of course, valid mail ballots continue to trickle in.

More results should be released at around 11pm tonight in the nail biter county executive Democratic primary.


Elrich Pulls into Narrow Lead

Today, Elrich added 5,514 (43.7%) votes while Blair gained 4,667 (37.0%)–a net gain of 847 votes for Elrich. Currently, Elrich has 35,300 votes to 35,004 votes for David Blair, so Elrich leads by 296 votes. Though enough to move Elrich into the lead, his spread over Blair in percentage terms is smaller than yesterday—a lead of 6.7% as opposed to yesterday’s 15.6%. But both leads are stronger than Blair’s on election night in either the early or Election Day vote.

Montgomery County is now reporting a total 16,730 mail ballot votes in the county executive race and the trend continues in incumbent County Executive Marc Elrich’s direction. The addition of 12,629 more mail ballot votes on top of the 4,101 reported last night has propelled Elrich into the lead.

Remember that if the Board of Elections is indeed counting ballots from earliest to latest received, this means that their composition could continue to vary. In other words, this is not a random sample of mail ballots. We’ll have to see if Blair improved among mail voters as the campaign progressed. UPDATE: At least one source is reporting that ballots are not being processed in order received. At the same time, mail ballots that have not been processed into the system can’t be scanned for votes yet and arrived later than ballots already processed.

But Blair’s advantage has, for now, been erased. The chance that Elrich once again snatches victory from Blair’s grasp is certainly looking better than both yesterday and on election night.


Elrich Makes Strong Gains in Mail Vote but Still Trails

The first tranche of mail ballots is in and they were very good for incumbent County Executive Marc Elrich.

Going into tonight, Elrich trailed by 1,191 votes. The addition of just 4,101 valid votes from mail ballots has now cut David Blair’s lead down to 550 votes. Blair added just 1,376 (33.6%) votes to 2,017 (49.2%) for Elrich. Tens of thousands more mail ballots still have yet to be counted along with provisional ballots.

Though excellent news for Elrich, a strong dose of caution is merited. If the Board of Elections is indeed counting ballots from earliest to latest received, this means that their composition could well change. In other words, this is not a random sample of mail ballots.

Folks, like last time, it looks like we’re going to have wait to know the result.


Counting Continues

If you like watching paint dry, you’ll love the livestream of the counting of mail ballots in Montgomery County. It’s after 10pm and we’re still waiting for the first tranche of the mail vote. It looks like they are working late and hard to get more ballots counted.

MoCo has the most mail ballots in the state. Most counties with fewer ballots finished earlier and have already counted all of their mail ballots. The other places that have yet to report are Baltimore City and County along with Charles, Frederick, Howard and Washington Counties. Prince George’s has reported but still has more to count.

I’m told that Montgomery is counting from earliest to most recent received. As a result, it’s less clear that the results from the first batch with be the similar to the following one.


Can Elrich Win? Here’s the Math

Once again, Marc Elrich and David Blair are in a tight race for the Democratic nomination for county executive. Can Marc Elrich catch up?

The results from Montgomery County can be found on the Maryland State Board of Elections website. After election night, Blair has 28,961 votes (39.6%) and Elrich has 27,770 votes (38.0%)–a lead of 1,191 votes (1.6%).

Before I get further into the details, many are wondering which precincts have not reported yet because the page states 246 of 258 election day precincts reporting. This is a glitch. If you go to the page for the entire state, it reports correctly that results from all 258 have been tallied.

Due to the expansion of mail voting, including the addition of the ability to opt to vote by mail in every election, the number of mail ballots has ballooned considerably from four years ago. The estimate of the number of mail ballots on the Board of Elections website is far from complete because it includes only mail ballots that have been initially processed (but still not included in the vote tally).

I’m hearing that the Board of Elections guesses that they had received around 10,000 ballots more than listed on the site as of election day. Additionally, any ballots received over the next ten days that were postmarked on election day or earlier will be counted. The count also does not include ballots placed in drop boxes on election day, which I understand had heavy use, or provisional ballots.

We can roughly guesstimate that there will be around 50,000 additional ballots. That’s a lot considering that only 73,087 valid votes were cast in the race for county executive so far. Elrich needs to win 1,192 votes (2.4%) more than Blair to catch up.

Can this happen? I’d rather be in Blair’s position and leading, but it’s possible. After all, Blair led Elrich by 316 votes (0.6%) in the election day vote but by 875 votes (4.3%) in the early vote.

I can easily imagine scenarios that are good for both candidates. Mail votes often tend to follow election day votes. The mail vote might resemble the early vote since both were cast before the election. In either case, Blair wins.

On the other hand, one can also spin scenarios that are good for Elrich. Mail voters might be voters that are especially cautious due to the pandemic and especially appreciate his managing of it. They may also differ in some demographic that skews in his direction.

So maybe I was a little hasty to write yesterday that “My guess is that’s too much for Elrich to make up in mail ballots.” Though it still appears more likely than not to turn out that way, Blair’s lead is not insurmountable.

The bottom line is that we’ll just have to be very patient and wait for the votes to be counted. We’ll have a better idea of where this race is likely to end up once we know the total number of mail and provisional ballots as well as how they are trending from the first counts.


The Morning After Synopsis: Montgomery County

This post focuses on county offices. For information on what happened in state legislative races in Montgomery County, see my previous post.

County Executive

The big news is that David Blair looks likely to win the county executive race after a night in which the count remained very close. Right now, he leads incumbent Marc Elrich by 1.5% or 1062 votes. My guess is that’s too much for Elrich to make up in mail ballots. Hans Riemer trailed with 21% after running a strong campaign.

Looks like the dog has caught the car and will now have a lot of promises to fulfill. It also means that very rich people will now hold two of the three most prominent offices in the county (i.e. County Exec and Congress). Like Rep. David Trone, Blair will have won on the second try after pouring eight figures into his campaign. Rep. John Delaney who preceded Trone was also a very wealthy businessman. Rep. Jamie Raskin remains the exception.

County Council

In the at-large races, incumbents Evan Glass, Will Jawando and Gabe Albornoz easily won renomination. It looks like they’ll be joined by Gaithersburg Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles. Incumbent District 5 Councilmember Tom Hucker trailed not just Sayles but also former MCDCC Member Scott Goldberg.

Marilyn Balcombe easily won the Democratic nomination in District 2 with 47%. Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart won the nomination in District 4 with 45%. In District 5, Kristin Mink won easily with 40%. Former Planning Board Member Natali Fani-Gonazalez easily won District 6 with 54% of the vote. Finally, Dawn Luedtke looks set to take the nomination in District 7 with just 32% of the vote.

Incumbents Andrew Friedson (District 1) and Sidney Katz (District 3) also are set to win the Democratic nomination and return to the Council.

Assuming all the Democrats win, as usual, a majority of six of the eleven councilmembers will be new. The new council will also have a majority of women as Sayles, Balcombe, Stewart, Mink, Fani-Gonzalez, and Luedtke are set to become new councilmembers. Outgoing Councilmember Nancy Navarro is the only woman on the current council.

The new Council will continue to have two African American and two Latino members. Perhaps in the most significant breakthrough, the Council will finally have its first Asian American member in Chinese-American Kristin Mink. The Council will also have three Jewish members (Friedson, Glass and Katz) and one openly gay member (Glass).

Courthouse Races

State’s Attorney John McCarthy easily turned back challenges from three opponents and won renomination with 48%. His nearest challenger, Bernice Mireku-North won 21%. Chief Deputy Sheriff Maxwell Uy looks set to become the new sheriff. He won the Democratic nomination with 54%.


The Morning After Synopsis: Federal and State Races

Statewide Races

Republicans have nominated a truly extreme ticket of QAnon insurrectionist Del. Dan Cox for governor. He also tried to impeach Gov. Larry Hogan. His running mate, Queen Anne’s Attorney Gordana Schifanelli gives Cox a run for his money in crazy.

The Wes Moore/Aruna Miller ticket has a comfortable lead as the counting continues on the Democratic side with 37%. However, that share of the vote is lower than the 40% garnered by losing Democratic nominee Ben Jealous in 2018.

Meanwhile, Republicans have nominated neo-Confederate theocrat extremist Michael Peroutka for attorney general. Peroutka was elected to one term on the Anne Arundel County Council before losing the primary in his run for reelection. He’ll face Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown, a former Lt. Governor, in the general election.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, the Republican nominee for comptroller, cannot be overjoyed about these outcomes. He faces Democratic Del. Brooke Lierman in the general election.


The big news is former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey’s trouncing of former Rep. Donna Edwards in the Fourth Congressional District Democratic primary. Right now, Ivey leads Edwards by 51%-35%.

In other interesting races, Heather Mizeur won the nomination in the First District with 69%. She’ll take on Rep. Andy Harris who is now linked to the events of January 6th but remains the favorite in this Republican leaning district.

Over in the Sixth District, Del. Neil Parrott annihilated 25-year old Matthew Foldi by 64%-15%. Foldi, who refuses to say Biden won the 2020 election legitimately, had endorsements from Donald Trump, Jr and Gov. Larry Hogan as well as other prominent national Republicans.

State Senate

Del. Mike McKay won the Republican nomination for the open First District in far western Maryland. In Frederick, Del. Karen Lewis Young won the open nomination to succeed her husband in District 3. Del. Bill Folden easily won the GOP nomination in neighboring District 4.

In Baltimore County’s District 10, Del. Ben Brooks beat Del. Jay Jalisi by 37% to 30%. The General Assembly will be improved without Jalisi who has been accused of abuse towards staff and his family.

In Montgomery District 18, Democratic Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher turned back a challenge from Max Socol by a convincing 63% to 37%.

Prince George’s Sen. Ron Watson is narrowly defeating a challenge by Board of Education Member Raaheela Ahmed by 42% to 38% in the District 23 Democratic primary. Former conservative Democratic Sen. C. Anthony Muse is narrowly leading Tamara Brown in District 26 by 50.4% to 49.6% in a race that will have to wait for the mail ballots.

In Harford District 34, former Del. Mary-Dulany James beat Del. Mary Lisanti for the Democratic nomination by 65%-35%. She will face Del. Christian Miele in her third bid to win this seat. Incumbent Republican Sen. Jason Gallion garnered only 49% of the vote against two challengers in Cecil and Harford District 35. He’ll face no opposition in the general election.

In Eastern Shore District 37, Del. Johnny Mautz easily beat incumbent Sen. Addie Eckardt for the Republican nomination by 77%-23%. Eckardt was characterized as too moderate and too old.

House of Delegates

I’m going to focus on Montgomery County in discussing races for this much larger house of the General Assembly.

In his latest bid to return to elective office, former Del. Saqib Ali lost very badly to the incumbent delegates in District 15 with roughly one-half of the votes on the third-place nominee. No doubt the allegations of abuse towards his family didn’t help and will discourage future runs by this once promising politician.

In District 17, Joe Vogel easily won the third Democratic nomination and will join incumbent Dels. Kumar Barve and Julie Palekovich Carr in the House in this very Democratic district. Aaron Kaufmann, appointed to fill a vacant nomination in District 18, faced no opposition and will also be a new member of the House.

In District 39, all three Democratic incumbents won renomination. Del. Gabe Acevero easily came in second despite the rest of the incumbent legislators slating with challenger Clint Sobratti. A lot of fence mending to do in that district,