Blair: Recount ‘likely’ in Montgomery Co. executive primary

Voting booths are set up ahead of Maryland's primary election in 2018. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The candidate who lost the Democratic primary for Montgomery County executive by a slim margin says he will “likely” seek a recount.

“It’s a surreal feeling,” said businessman David Blair, who lost to longtime County Council member Marc Elrich by just 80 votes.

After tallying up the nearly 130,000 votes from the June 26 contest, including thousands of absentee and provisional ballots, the county’s board of elections determined that Elrich had 37,529 votes; Blair, 37,449.

Now, Blair’s team is in the process of conducting an independent review of ballots that may have been excluded from the count.

“We’re right in the thick of it,” Blair said.  “We’re counting one vote at a time and we’ll see where the cards end up.”

Blair is particularly interested in looking into provisional ballots, citing a computer glitch at Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration that affected more than 70,000 voters.

The glitch prevented voters from being properly registered, forcing them to cast a provisional ballot instead of a standard one.

“We’re obviously concerned,” said Blair. “I think by their nature, the provisional ballot is more likely to be rejected than a typical ballot.”

The board of elections is expected to certify the primary results July 16.

“We will then make a determination whether we seek a recount or not,” Blair said.

Blair would need to pay for a recount because the margin between the two candidates is greater than 0.1 percent. However, he would not be responsible for the cost if a recount changed the outcome of the election, or if he gained votes equal to at least 2 percent of the total votes cast.

Elrich declared victory earlier in the week.

“It is an honor to have been chosen by Montgomery County’s Democrats to represent the party in the general election,” he said in a statement.

The Democratic primary winner faces Republican Robin Ficker in November’s general election.

County Council member Nancy Floreen said this week that she intends to run as an independent.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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