Potomac businessman David Blair, who lost the Democratic nomination for Montgomery County executive to council member Marc Elrich by 79 votes, has asked the county for a partial recount, but said he doesn’t expect the outcome of the race to change.
Blair is seeking a recount of absentee ballots, provisional ballots, and all ballots cast at an early-voting center in Potomac and one precinct — 02-06, at Hallie Wells Middle School in Clarksburg. The first-time candidate said the Potomac and Clarksburg sites were chosen based on what he called an “unusual” voting pattern.
“I think it’s unlikely there will be a change, but given the narrow margin, the importance of the election and some of the issues we’ve seen, it seems prudent and appropriate to have a recount in these areas,” he said.
Blair placed second to Elrich (At Large), a longtime council member, in a six-way primary race that came down to absentee and provisional ballots. Elrich was certified as the winner Monday, and Blair had three days to request a recount.
“I expected him to do it because it is a close election,” Elrich said Thursday, adding that he did not expect the outcome to change. “We feel pretty certain that the ballots were accurately counted.”
Blair said he continues to have reservations about other aspects of the June 26 primary election, including a programming error at the state Motor Vehicle Administration that potentially affected the registrations of tens of thousands of voters, leaving those voters to cast provisional ballots.
“It certainly raises our eyebrows and should be looked at further,” he said.
In largely blue Montgomery, the Democratic primary often determines the victor in November.
But this year’s general election could be more complicated. Council member Nancy Floreen (At Large), a longtime Democrat who recently registered as unaffiliated, has declared her intention to run as an independent and has until Aug. 6 to collect enough signatures to appear on the ballot. The Republican nominee is attorney Robin Ficker.
While Elrich has a strong base of progressive and union support in the county, business leaders have said they would rally behind Floreen.
County Board of Elections attorney Kevin Karpinski said Blair, who self-funded his primary campaign, had to go before a circuit court judge and post a bond of $23,466.35 for the cost of the recount, an amount that will be placed in escrow.
The recount is expected to begin Monday, Karpinski said.
Meanwhile, a separate recount for the Democratic nomination for the third District 16 legislative seat is scheduled to begin Friday, said Board of Elections President James Shalleck. Sara Love beat Samir Paul by eight votes in that race.