Blair Says He’s Likely To Ask for Recount in Democratic Primary for County Executive

Unofficial election results have Potomac businessman losing to Elrich by 80 votes


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David Blair

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Potomac businessman David Blair says he’s leaning toward seeking a recount in the Democratic primary for county executive given the small number of votes between him and the race’s unofficial victor, County Council member Marc Elrich.

“It’s likely that we’ll ask for a recount based on the razor-thin margin, but no decision has been made,” Blair said Thursday by phone.

His campaign will probably make its final decision after the Montgomery County Board of Elections certifies the primary vote totals on Monday, he said.

The unofficial election tally from the June 26 primary shows him losing to Elrich by 80 votes, but Blair said he and his supporters are raising questions about some of the absentee and provisional ballots that were excluded from the count. In particular, Blair said he’s concerned that some provisional ballots were rejected for reasons related to a Motor Vehicle Administration programming error that affected about 83,000 voters statewide.

The Seventh State blog on Thursday reported that Blair’s camp has sent out an email asking provisional and absentee voters to contact the campaign.

“If your vote was improperly rejected for any reason, including the errors by the MVA, we will work to ensure the error is corrected and your vote is counted,” the email states.

Campaigns can also ask the local board of elections to provide a list of voters whose ballots were rejected. Board spokeswoman Marjorie Roher confirmed the Blair campaign has submitted such a request.

“In a race this tight, you want to make sure that everyone voted, that their vote counted, and we’ve found a number of discrepancies,” Blair said.

He said his campaign team has been encouraging supporters to verify that their votes were counted and is alerting the county’s elections board of any reported discrepancies. The state elections board directs provisional and absentee voters to a website where they can check the status of their ballot and determine whether it was counted.

Blair said he trusts the local elections officials to investigate situations brought to their attention, while acknowledging that there are “legitimate reasons ballots are rejected.”

Provisional and absentee voters gave Blair a boost in the final tally—closing his deficit by 412 votes—but weren’t enough for him to overtake Elrich.

The elections board rejected 169 absentee ballots and about 146 provisional ballots cast by Democratic voters. 

Blair could petition for a recount within three days of the vote certification anticipated for Monday. Under state law, a recount in the Montgomery County executive race could end up costing Blair, since the 80-vote margin is more than 0.1 percent of the total votes cast for him and Elrich.

A recount could add another twist to the race, in a county where the action typically wanes following the Democratic primary.

On Wednesday, County Council member Nancy Floreen said she was launching an independent run against Elrich and the Republican nominee, Robin Ficker, and is beginning to gather signatures to put her name on the ballot.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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