Samir Paul, a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in Maryland’s 16th legislative district, will formally file a recount request with the Montgomery County Board of Elections as soon as the results of the June 26 primary are certified.
Paul, a systems analyst turned public school teacher, came in fourth in the three-delegate district, nine votes behind Sara Love, former policy director for the ACLU.
Love won 11,294 votes; Paul received 11,285. The margin of difference — .01 percent.
Incumbents Del. Marc Korman (13,594 votes) and Del. Ariana Kelly (12,189) took the top two spots. Bill Day ran unopposed and unaccompanied in the GOP primary, netting 1,942 votes in a district that Democrats dominate.
Because the race was so close, Paul said the decision to request a recount wasn’t difficult.
“It’s a razor-thin margin,” he said. “And given the number of people who worked so hard on the campaign, we want to make sure we have the right final count.”
The Montgomery County Board of Elections, meeting as the Board of Canvassers, spent four days reviewing approximately 7,400 provisional and absentee ballots. Paul had the lead after election night and right up until the last batch of votes was added to the prior totals, when Love overtook him.
“People poured their heart and soul into it,” Paul, a one-time Teacher of the Year, said. “We want to make sure we get the count right.”
As for the inevitable what-ifs that all the candidates in Maryland’s close races must be entertaining, Paul said, “You can’t think about it in terms of how you could have picked up a margin of nine or 10 votes. You cannot do it that way.”
Because of the tiny margin separating the third- and fourth-place finishers, Paul will not have to pay for his recount.
The county board expects to certify the results of the primary by July 16.