Anne Arundel County Democrat Heather Bagnall had to wait 10 days after the election for it to become final, but with the last absentee ballots counted on Friday, she became the newest incoming member of the General Assembly.
When all the votes were counted, Bagnall received 184 votes more than District 33 incumbent Del. W. Anthony McConkey (R), to finish third. She had been trailing by 645 votes after election night, but steadily gained ground as provisional and absentee ballots were counted.
Bagnall’s victory means there will be 99 Democrats in the House of Delegates next year, a pickup of eight seats over the previous legislative class.
Bagnall, an arts educator, will be the only Democrat representing her district – and she becomes the first Democratic House member in the Crofton-Davidsonville-area district since former Del. Marsha G. Perry, who served from 1987-1999. Republican Delegates Michael Edward Malone and Sid Saab were reelected, with Malone finishing in the top spot.
The Republican primary in the race attracted attention and outside spending from the House Republican Caucus Committee after Anne Arundel County Councilman Jerry Walker (R) ran against the incumbents. The caucus spent tens of thousands of dollars on mailers attacking Walker – money that could have been spent on preserving the seat in the general election.
Bagnall’s campaign was credited with focusing on occasional voters and an absentee ballot campaign that pushed her past McConkey in the general election.
“I set out to prove that a strong message, and a positive, community focused campaign centered around voter education and engagement, and local issues could outperform a huge war chest. I think we proved that beyond a doubt, not only because we surpassed Delegate McConkey but also because we were within 700 votes of Delegate Saab as well,” Bagnall wrote in an email to supporters on Saturday.
The race was one of a few in the state that remained close until the final ballots were counted.
After Friday’s totals, incumbent Republican Sen. Robert Cassilly of Harford County was reelected by a 189-vote margin over challenger Mary-Dulany James, a Democrat and former delegate. That was a rematch from 2014, when Cassilly won by more than 5,500 votes.
In the legislative subdistrict of 34A, Democrat Steve Johnson ousted incumbent Republican Del. Glen Glass by 165 votes. Democratic Del. Mary Ann Lisanti received the most votes in that district and won the other seat.