Frederick Council race remains a one-vote win

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The Frederick County Board of Elections conducted a recount in a county council race on Tuesday and ended up with the same result they got last week — a one-vote win for challenger Jazmin Di Cola over incumbent M.C. Keegan-Ayer in the Democratic primary.

Keegan-Ayer, who is currently the county president, was seeking her third term. Di Cola is a community activist.

Keegan-Ayer successfully sued to have Di Cola declared ineligible for the District 3 seat because she moved to District 1 last year. The county charter requires potential candidates to live in the district they wish to represent for 12 months prior to an election.

A Circuit Court judge ruled against Di Cola following an all-day hearing on Friday. Because of that ruling, the county elections board has been barred from certifying Di Cola’s win.

“The court ordered that the Frederick County Board of Elections not certify Ms. Di Cola as the Democratic nominee for District 3,” said elections board attorney Dan Loftus. “The court also ordered that the Frederick County Democratic Central Committee appoint an individual to serve as the Democratic nominee.”

The central committee has until the end of the day Friday to make its decision. Committee Chair Deborah Carter said a nominee will be chosen on Thursday evening.

Di Cola, who did not respond to a request for comment following the recount, indicated on social media over the weekend that she intends to appeal last week’s court ruling to the Maryland Court of Appeals.

In light of the court’s ruling, it’s unclear whether Di Cola was eligible to cast a ballot in the District 3 race — a big issue given her one-vote margin of victory. Loftus said he expects that issue to arise at the board’s next session, on Wednesday.

“That will be something for the board to deliberate,” he said. “And then if the board wanted to, they would forward that on to the special prosecutor.”

In a statement late Tuesday, Keegan-Ayer thanked her supporters, and she said the recount showed that the county’s electoral system “operates with integrity and can withstand intense scrutiny.”

She made no mention of Di Cola, nor did she concede. She left open the possibility that she will seek to be the central committee’s appointee.

“I want to thank my many friends and supporters who have reached out to me over the past few weeks to provide encouragement, support, and to send exceedingly kind thoughts and words,” Keegan-Ayer wrote. “I am going to think about whether to apply to the (Democratic Central Committee) nomination process, but I will decide by the deadline.”

“Now, is a time for healing,” she added, “and I commit my energy and effort to support that healing and unity.”

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