By Adam Pagnucco.
Baltimore City Council Member Zeke Cohen was riding high. A first term incumbent in District 1 (Southeast Baltimore/Canton/Fells Point), Cohen was running for reelection and was endorsed by most of the major progressive institutional players in city politics.
Cohen’s challenger, Paris Bienert, was a credible candidate but her endorsement list was no match for the incumbent.
For the cycle, Cohen outraised Bienert by $322,837 vs $170,795 through May 17, a nearly 2-1 edge. Cohen also outspent Bienert by $194,015 vs $124,069. Cohen was so confident of victory that he reported a cash balance of $206,174 on May 17.
So this looks like a big win for the incumbent, yeah?
Last night, Cohen tweeted the following after seeing early results showing Bienert getting 98% of the vote.
Cohen called out the county board of elections and the results came down.
Another person caught this aberrant result. (I redacted the person’s identity from the tweet.)
Even Bienert didn’t believe it. She told the Baltimore Sun, “I’m very excited by these numbers, but I do think there’s been a misreporting.”
All of this will remind folks of the botched city election of four years ago, when activists alleged “irregularities, including late-opening polling stations; alleged conflicts of interest among campaign staffers who worked as election judges; polling-machine memory sticks that were missing for about 24 hours; and problems with resources, including shortages of ballots and ballpoint pens at some centers.” Future federal convict Catherine Pugh wound up winning the race for Mayor.
I am hearing that the State Board of Elections will address the matter today. For now, this tweet on Cohen’s thread says it all.