- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2018

Montgomery County Council member Marc Elrich’s lead over former health care executive David Blair in the Democratic primary for county executive has fallen to 86 votes, down from 149 votes last week, officials said.

With all precincts reporting and only some absentee ballots and provisional ballots left to be counted, Mr. Elrich has 37,510 votes and Mr. Blair 37,424, the Montgomery County Board of Elections announced this weekend.

Marjorie Roher, the board’s spokeswoman, said the panel expects to finish counting ballots by Monday and will certify the results around July 16.

The Maryland elections calendar called for certification on Friday, but Ms. Roher said results can be certified only after the vote count is completed.

Mr. Elrich expressed frustration over the certification delay, calling it “nuts” and “embarrassing.”

Montgomery County was one of several jurisdictions where some voters were prevented from casting ballots on Election Day because state officials improperly recorded requests to change addresses and party affiliations. Those 80,000-plus voters were allowed to cast provisional ballots.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has ordered an investigation into the failure.

The winner of the Democratic contest will face Robin Ficker, the Republican nominee for county executive, and possibly an independent challenge from at-large County Council member Nancy Floreen.

Ms. Floreen on Tuesday filed an intent to declare candidacy for county executive as an independent and said she would switch her party affiliation Monday, as the Bethesda Beat first reported.

“I did not support either David Blair or Marc Elrich. Whichever candidate prevails in the count will do so with less than 30 percent of the third of Democrats who voted — a fraction of a fraction. That’s less than 40,000 votes in a county of more than a million,” she said.

Mr. Elrich and Mr. Blair competed in a six-way Democratic primary that included County Council members Roger Berliner and George Leventhal, state Delegate C. William Frick and former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow.

“I believe ALL Democrats, Republicans and independents would benefit from a third, independent choice,” Ms. Floreen said.

Mr. Elrich, 68, proposes raising the minimum wage, which he contends would make the county more attractive for businesses. He has been endorsed by the NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC, the Montgomery County Education Association and the Metro D.C. Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Mr. Blair, 48, is a former chief executive officer for Catalyst Health Solutions, a Fortune 500 company. He said he wants to provide space for new enterprises, support existing businesses and invest in local companies. Mr. Blair has been endorsed by state Comptroller Peter Franchot and The Washington Post.

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