As election workers and canvassers continue their count of mail-in ballots, David Blair still leads Marc Elrich in the Democratic primary for county executive — but the lead remains slim, at 131 votes.
Blair, a businessman from Potomac, lost to Elrich in the 2018 primary by 77 votes. The 2022 primary has proven so far to be another close race with a long ballot count, bolstered by the fact that election workers and canvassers could not begin to count mail-in ballots until 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 21 — two days after Primary Election Day.
The county executive race has been watched by many political observers, as the winner is anticipated to win in the general election, since Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans in Montgomery County. Blair or Elrich will face Reardon Sullivan, the former chair of the county’s Republican Central Committee, in the November election.
The race has seen a lead change, and neither Elrich or Blair take a commanding lead. County Council Member Hans Riemer, the other major contender in the race, conceded on July 20.
Blair initially had a lead after the July 19 Primary Election Day of about 1,100 votes over Elrich before the counting of mail-in ballots began July 21. Elrich had erased that lead and pulled ahead after the July 22 tally.
This past weekend’s tabulations showed that Blair was chipping away at Elrich’s slim lead and results released mid-day Monday put him just 141 votes behind Elrich. By Monday night’s release of the results, Blair had regained the lead by 134 votes. That lead grew by 11 votes after Wednesday’s tabulations, but decreased by 14 votes after Friday’s count, leading to the 131-vote margin.
Alysoun McLaughlin, the county’s acting election director, has said she expects that a majority of mail-in ballots — at least 95% or more — will be canvassed and scanned by the first week of August. The goal is to certify the election by Aug. 12, she said earlier this month.
Gilberto Zelaya, a spokesman for the board, wrote in a text that election workers and canvassers had finished scanning 54,196 mail-in ballots, after Friday. That means canvassers still have to review at least roughly 15,000 more mail-in ballots, and just over 8,000 provisional ballots. Any ballots that arrived by 10 a.m. to the Board of Elections on Friday — but were postmarked by July 19 — also need to be reviewed, per state law.
According to the State Board of Elections schedule, candidates have until “within 3 days after the results of an election have been certified by the local board” to request a recount. If a candidate’s vote count is within .25% of that of another candidate, the recount comes at no cost.
In the County Council races, only Districts 1, 3 and 6 have projected winners in the Democratic primary. Andrew Friedson, the Democratic incumbent in District 1, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, and no Republican filed to run.
Sidney Katz is anticipated to win a third Democratic primary in District 3, and Natali Fani-Gonzalez will likely win District 6.
Here are the rest of results for County Council Democratic primary races (top vote-getter advances to general election in November except for at-large), and the county school board races, which are nonpartisan (the top 2 from each round advance to the general election in November):
County Council District 2
Marilyn Balcombe currently leads, with 5,693 votes. William Roberts trails with 3,250 votes.
County Council District 4
Kate Stewart is in front with 8,822 votes. Amy Ginsburg is in second with 6,867 votes.
County Council District 5
Kristin Mink is the frontrunner with 6,982 votes. Fatmata Barrie is in second with 3,951 votes.
County Council District 7
Dawn Luedtke leads with 4,697 votes. Jacqueline Manger trails with 3,063 votes.
County Council at-large
Evan Glass, Will Jawando, Gabe Albornoz (all incumbents) and Laurie-Anne Sayles lead for the four spots to advance to the general election in November. They have 74,019 votes, 67,225 votes, 63,469 votes, and 51,716 votes, respectively. Scott Golberg is in fifth with 44,593 votes.
Board of Education District 1
Grace Rivera-Oven leads with 52,459 votes, and Esther Wells is in second with 31,914 votes. Jay Guan is in third with 16,679 votes.
Board of Education District 3
Julie Yang is in first with 71,765 votes, Scott Joftus, the incumbent, is in second with 27,916 votes, and Marcus Alzona is in third with 18,941 votes.
Board of Education District 5
Valerie Coll leads with 45,043 votes, just above Brenda Wolff (incumbent), who has 45,031 votes. Dawn Iannaco-Hahn is in third with 24,313 votes.
Board of Education at-large
Karla Silvestre (incumbent) leads with 63,353 votes, and Mike Erickson is in second with 20,552 votes. Michael Fryar is in third with 17,755 votes.