Nailbiter: David Blair retakes slim lead over Marc Elrich in Montgomery Co. executive Democratic primary

Business owner David Blair retook a narrow lead over incumbent Marc Elrich Monday night as the counting continues in the Maryland Democratic primary for Montgomery County executive.

By Monday night, Blair led Elrich by just 134 votes — 42,705 votes to 42,571. According to the state Board of Elections, that puts both Blair and Elrich at 39% of the votes cast in the race.

But the race remains too close to call.

The close race is an repeat of the last Democratic primary for county executive.

Four years ago, Elrich edged out Blair by just 77 votes.

Since last Tuesday’s primary, Elrich and Blair have traded slim leads as the trickle of votes continues.

The spokesperson for the county’s board of elections cautioned that there were still many votes yet to count.

In a Zoom briefing with reporters Monday morning, Gilberto Zelaya, spokesperson for the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said it was impossible to say just when all the votes will be counted.

“We will add days if needed,” Zelaya said. “We will do our due diligence. Ballots have until this coming Friday the 29th, 10 a.m. to get to our hands.”

All in-person early voting totals and primary day voting counts have been tallied. But elections workers are still counting mail-in ballots.

As of Monday morning, the votes already tabulated totaled 30,218. Overall, elections officials had hand-counted a total 32,312 ballots sent via the mail and 36,663 ballots from drop boxes.

“These hand counts are very fickle,” said Zelaya, explaining that until the vote is certified, the numbers released each day are “unofficial” and could fluctuate as elections workers continue to collect those ballots sent via the Postal Service.

There were also 8,030 provisional ballots yet to be counted.

GOP race for county executive

In the Republican race, Reardon Sullivan had 63% of the vote, compared to Shelly Skolnick’s 37%. Skolnick, an attorney, conceded to Sullivan, who recently served as chair of the county’s Republican Party and owns a Rockville local consulting company.

County Council race results

Three incumbents in the Democratic race for Montgomery County Council at-large seats appear positioned to keep their jobs: Evan Glass, Will Jawando and Gabe Albornoz held leads in that race. There are a total of four at-large seats open, and Laurie-Anne Sayles remained in the fourth position among the top vote-getters.

Current Council member Tom Hucker, who is winding down his term as a 5th District member, conceded in the at-large race last week.

Council member Andrew Friedson was running unopposed in the District 1 Democratic race. No Republicans filed to run in that contest.

In the District 2 race, Republican Dan Cuda was running unopposed, while Marilyn Balcombe led the Democratic field.

Incumbent Council member Sidney Katz led the Democratic race for the District 2 seat. Republican George Hernandez is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.

Kate Stewart was leading her nearest opponent by 1,830 votes in the Democratic contest for the District 4 seat Monday afternoon. Cheryl Riley is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Another Republican, Kate Woody, is unopposed in the District 5 county council primary. Kristin Mink was well ahead in the Democratic race for the seat, with 46% of the vote.

Natali Fani González had won more than 54% of the votes tallied by Monday afternoon in the District 6 Democratic primary. Viet Doan is unopposed in the Republican race.

Dawn Luedtke had 33% of the votes compared to her nearest competitor, Jacqueline Manger, who had just shy of 24% of the ballots cast and counted by Monday. Harold Maldonado, a Republican faced no opposition in his primary.

Council future

The next county council will consist of 11 members instead of the current nine, and current Council President Gabe Albornoz and Vice President Evan Glass noted that if current leads hold, the council could have a record number of women serving on the body.

Albornoz noted that six women are on track to win their primaries.

“To go from just one woman on our current council to what it appears will be the majority is a critically important step forward,” Albornoz said. It would “in many important ways reflect the diversity of our communities.”

If the six women leading their council races do win, Glass said it would be the most number of women on the county council since the 1990s, when there were four women serving on the body.

“I think at this point in time, it is safe to say that this is the year of the woman here in Montgomery County,” Glass said.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report. 

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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