A Carroll County senator has conceded a close race in District 9.
Sen. Gail H. Bates (R) posted to Facebook around 12:30 p.m. Friday that she had called to congratulate Sen.-elect Katie Fry Hester, a Democrat.
Hester, an engineer who advises companies on corporate sustainability and international development, was leading Bates by about 150 votes on election night. During the absentee ballot canvas, her lead increased to 531 votes, Hester’s campaign said.
She issued a press release in the early morning hours of Friday declaring victory.
“Tonight, after eighteen months of campaigning, and meeting voters at their homes and at events throughout Howard and Carroll Counties, I am excited to declare that we are victorious in our campaign for State Senate,” Hester said in the release. “Working with voters across the political spectrum, it is clear that our message focused on protecting those with preexisting conditions, increasing funding for education, and preserving our family farms resonated throughout the district. I thank Senator Bates for her years of service to our community, and a hard-fought Election, and I look forward to serving the people of district 9 in Annapolis this January.”
The district was last represented in the Senate by a Democrat in 1994 by Sen. Charles Smelser. The seat has been held for the past four years by Bates, who served in the House for 13 years before that.
“Along the trail, I have met so many people who are doing such wonderful things to make our County and State the best,” Bates wrote on Facebook, after she called Hester to congratulate her on the win. “… Katie will need your help as she steps into the role of Senator and I ask that you help her to do the best job she can as so many of you did for me. I am grateful for friendships and for all who worked so hard in my campaigns. It has been an honor to represent you. I am truly blessed.”
District 9 is a half-rural, half-suburban district that takes in parts of Howard and Carroll counties. Hester lives in Ellicott City with her husband, Bill, and their two daughters.
She is one of 17 new members expected to join the Senate chamber in January.