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It’s a timeworn truism of politics: Every vote counts. And if its utterance sometimes generates cynical smirks, it was borne out this past year across the country and close to home. When the votes were counted—and recounted—after the June Democratic primary, newly installed County Executive Marc Elrich had beaten businessman David Blair by a mere 77 votes out of about 75,000 cast for the two. The slim margin was even tighter than the first race for county executive, when Republican James Gleason bested Democrat William Greenhalgh by a relative landslide of 420 votes in 1970. Elrich versus Blair wasn’t even the closest county executive race in Maryland last year: In Baltimore County, the winner of the Democratic primary, now-County Executive John Olszewski Jr., finished ahead by nine votes. That’s the same margin by which attorney Sara Love initially bested teacher Samir Paul in the Democratic primary in Bethesda-based District 16 for an open seat in the House of Delegates. It was close enough to trigger a state-financed recount, and Love extended her margin to 12 votes out of almost 22,600 cast for the two. She will be among 10 freshman members of the county’s 32-person Annapolis delegation sworn in on Jan. 9.

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