Montgomery County Council member Marc B. Elrich emerged victorious in the Democratic primary for Montgomery County executive, as the county Board of Elections on Monday completed a recount requested by the runner-up in the June 26 primary, businessman David T. Blair.
Elrich’s lead shrank from 79 votes to 77 in the day-long recount, but Blair’s two-vote gain didn’t come close to changing the outcome. Blair appears unlikely to further pursue his attempt to reverse the results.
In an interview late Monday evening, Elrich said he and Blair had spoken by phone and that Blair had promised to help him in the general election.
“It was a really positive conversation,” Elrich said.
Maryland Matters has reached out to both Blair and his attorney, Brian G. Svoboda of the Washington, D.C., firm Perkins Coie. Neither had responded as of Monday evening.
More than 129,000 Montgomery Democrats cast ballots in the six-candidate field. In the final tally, Elrich, a three-term lawmaker, received 37,532 votes for 29.02 percent; Blair, former CEO of a health care company, ended up with 37,455 votes for 28.96 percent.
The Montgomery County elections board will meet Wednesday at 10 a.m. to certify the results.
Longtime activist Robin Ficker, a colorful attorney regarded by many as a gadfly, won the Republican primary, running unopposed.
The prospect of an Elrich-Ficker race led Nancy Floreen, a term-limited Council Member, to announce that she will run as an independent, setting up a three-way battle with two Democrats — the more progressive Elrich and the more business-friendly Floreen — and Ficker, who has won but one election in many attempts dating back to the 1970’s.
Floreen has the backing of former three-term county executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) and some of the county’s more prominent business leaders, who are expected to help bankroll her bid.
Elrich said he’s “happy” to have come out on top, but the nearly month-long process makes the outcome something of an anti-climax, particularly in the wake of Floreen’s decision to run. A successful Floreen candidacy would require a stout mix of Democrats, Independents and Republicans, observers have said.
Elrich also said he looks forward to sitting down with Blair to discuss some of the proposals he advanced during the campaign, particularly those that involve running county government more efficiently. A Blair endorsement of Elrich could short-circuit some of Floreen’s support in the business community. Many business leaders flocked to Blair’s campaign during the Democratic primary, and he was also endorsed by The Washington Post.
Floreen must gather 7,244 valid signatures by Aug. 6 to qualify for the general election ballot.