It’s official: David Blair requests recount in race for Montgomery Co. executive

It’s official: David Blair, the losing candidate in the extremely close Democratic primary for Montgomery County executive, has formally requested a recount.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections on Saturday certified incumbent County Executive Marc Elrich as the winner of the Democratic primary, defeating challenger David Blair.

Blair, the losing candidate in the extremely close Democratic primary for Montgomery County executive, has formally requested a recount.

A health care CEO and businessman, Blair fell short by fewer than three dozen votes.



Blair lost to Elrich for the same office by just 77 votes in the 2018 Democratic primary.

The formal petition from the Blair campaign Tuesday seeks a manual recount of all ballots cast in the race.

The request follows weeks of counting thousands of mail-in ballots in the July 19 primary, and the late discovery of uncounted provisional ballots that initially delayed certification.

All told, Elrich ended the race with 55,497 votes compared with Blair’s 55,462 — a difference of 35 votes.

Blair, who reportedly spent $5 million on his bid for county executive, will not be on the hook for the cost of the recount, as the end result is within 0.25% of the total votes cast for Elrich and Blair. The county will bear the cost.

The requested order of the recount is: all ballots cast during early voting, followed by ballots cast on Election Day, then all provisional ballots and, finally, mail-in ballots, according to the petition.

It’s unclear how long the recount will take. It’s expected to begin Friday.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, before the recount request was submitted, the Montgomery County Board of Elections said staff members were preparing for the “inevitable” recount.

After losing the Democratic nomination in 2018, Blair sought a less-expansive partial recount, which ended up reducing Elrich’s ultimate margin of victory by two votes — from 79 votes to 77.

Last week, Elrich told reporters he feels “pretty good” about his victory remaining secure after the recount, saying during an online briefing, “not much changes in the world of recounts.”

This year, the vote counting in Maryland’s largest county took several weeks to certify, in part because of the large number of mail-in ballots cast by voters this year and the fact that local boards of election — under Maryland law — are not allowed to begin processing any of them until two days after the primary.

In Montgomery County alone, more than 63,000 mail-in ballots were cast in the Democratic primary.

The Maryland State Board of Elections has petitioned a court to allow canvassing and processing of mail-in ballots for the general election prior to Election Day in November.

Maryland is the only state in the U.S. that forbids early processing of mail-in ballots, the board said. Last spring, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that would have allowed local boards to process mail-in ballots early, but Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the measure, claiming it would hamper election security.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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