All votes counted in tight Montgomery Co. executive race: Elrich declares victory but Blair to request recount

In the extremely close race for Montgomery County executive, incumbent Marc Elrich has declared victory and challenger David Blair plans to request a full recount.

As of Sunday afternoon, after nearly three weeks of vote tallying and with all ballots counted, Elrich, led Blair b a razor-thin margin of 42 votes. The unofficial results show Elrich had 39.2% of the vote, with 55,473 total votes. Blair had 39.17% of the vote, with 55,431 votes.

The vote totals include nine additional ballots counted Sunday, out of 34 total ballots that election officials said were left to be counted Sunday. The other 25 were ultimately rejected by the board of elections as being untimely.

Blair, a former health care CEO and businessman, issued a statement Sunday saying he would request a recount.

“After several weeks of counting and virtually all votes recorded, the Associated Press has declared this race too close to call. Given the extremely close margin, we will be requesting a full recount and are hopeful that the outcome will be in our favor,” Blair said in a news release Sunday morning.

The Associated Press said in an advisory Saturday night the race remained too close to call, with Elrich leading Blair by just 0.03 percentage points, out of more than 141,000 ballots counted.

Under Maryland election law, the candidate who trails in the vote counting can request a recount within three days of the vote being certified. Because the margin between Elrich and Blair is less than 0.25% of the votes cast for the two candidates, the Blair compaign is not on the hook for the cost of the recount.

Final certification is expected this week.

In the advisory, the AP said it will not declare a winner until the count is official certified “and all potential election challenges have passed. ”



Elrich, who’s running for his second term as county executive, declared victory late Saturday night, saying in a statement that he was honored to become the Democratic nominee after a long and “certainly exciting” primary.

“Now, with the results certain, we must work together to ensure Montgomery County remains solidly Democratic and turns out for Wes Moore and our entire Democratic ticket,” he said.

This year’s close race is a repeat of the last Democratic primary for county executive, where in 2018, Elrich edged out Blair by just 77 votes.

This go-round, At-Large Councilmember Hans Riemer also lodged a bid for county executive. He won nearly 20% of the vote with 28,177 votes. Candidate Peter James secured about 1.7% of the vote with 2,426 total votes.

State election officials told WTOP they hope to have completed and certified Maryland’s primary election votes by Aug. 12.

The vote counting was delayed this year after Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill that would have allowed local boards of election to begin tallying mail-in ballots before the July 19 primary.

Overall, there were nearly 75,000 mail-in ballots sent in by voters in Montgomery County — and more than 345,000 statewide.

WTOP’s Juan Herrera and Kate Ryan contributed to this report. 

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.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to WTOP.com in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

Jose Umana

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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