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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political Notes: Prince George’s primary results final, New Dems back Mizeur, top Hogan staffer moves to treasurer’s office

Shareese N. DeLeaver Churchill, press secretary to Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R) will soon start a new gig with Treasurer Dereck Davis (D) as deputy treasurer for communications and public affairs. File photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

After three days of manually recounting ballots in the Democratic primary for a House of Delegates seat in Prince George’s County, the top three vote-getters didn’t change.

The county’s Board of Elections unanimously certified the recount results Monday afternoon. Jocelyn Collins, a regional government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, had filed a petition for a recount after she trailed Kym Taylor, a former legislative aide, by 19 votes after the July 19 primary.

The post-recount tally in the contest came out with Kym Taylor in the third and final spot garnering 8,949 votes and Collins with 8,933 votes, a 16-vote deficit.

The other two winners are Del. Marvin Holmes Jr., who received 11 additional votes after the recount for a total of 10,393 votes. The vote total slightly decreased for Bowie City Council member Adrian Boafo by 26 votes, but he still came in second place with 9,211.

There are no Republican or third-party candidates in the race.

The Democratic primary featured a total of 10 candidates.

The recount process conducted last week at the Prince George’s Ballroom included 15 teams of four people reviewing ballots.

District 23, which includes the Bowie area and parts of Upper Marlboro, is home the Bowie City gymnasium, which was used as an early voting location. According to Maryland State Board of Elections data, the gymnasium recorded the highest number of voters statewide on four of eight early voting days.

“This is the first time that Prince George’s County has conducted a recount to this level. We do have quite a few lessons learned,” said county Elections Administrator Alisha Alexander. “We are documenting those lessons so that we know what to do and what not to do in the case that we come across this again.”

Mizeur gets New Dems nod

Heather Mizeur, the former state delegate who is seeking to oust Rep. Andy Harris, the lone Republican in the Maryland congressional delegation, has racked up an endorsement from the New Democrat Coalition Action Fund.

Mizeur was one of four Democratic congressional candidates to be endorsed late last week by the New Democrats, a center-left organization within the Democratic Caucus whose members often focus on tech issues. The New Democrats have endorsed 27 challengers and open-seat contenders for House seats so far this election cycle.

Besides Mizeur, the action fund’s most recent endorsements went to Francis Conole, an intelligence analyst and Iraq War veteran running for an open seat in Upstate New York; Bridget Fleming, a Suffolk County, N.Y., legislator running for an open seat in New York’s 1st District on the eastern end of Long Island; and Eric Lynn, a former Defense Department official running for an open seat in 13th District in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

“Each of these candidates has the experience, dedication, and drive necessary to win these critical races across the country,” said U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), the NewDem Action Fund chair. “NewDems have always been focused on electing candidates who share our commonsense approach to politics. Our Members and candidates are willing to work with anyone to deliver for the American people. In Congress, Eric Lynn, Heather Mizeur, Bridget Fleming, and Francis Conole will do just that.”

Notably, Mizeur is the only one of the four candidates the New Democrats endorsed last week who is not running in a race that the nonpartisan Cook Political Report considers competitive. Conole’s race is rated as a “tossup,” while Cook rates the New York 1st District as “lean Republican” and Florida’s 13th District as “likely Republican.” Maryland’s 1st District is ranked as “solid Republican.”

But the Mizeur campaign sees the endorsement as sign of newfound momentum and a sense that Democratic strategists see her race against Harris as winnable.

“Maryland’s First District needs a congresswoman who is focused on delivering real results for our region, rather than pulling political stunts or running to the extremes of either party,” Mizeur said. “The NewDem Action Fund is supporting my campaign because they share my commitment to solutions-oriented bipartisan leadership — and they know I will work with anyone to get good things done.”

Going to Churchill

Shareese Churchill, who has been a fixture in the Hogan administration since Gov. Larry Hogan (R) took office in January 2015, will begin a new gig right after Labor Day with State Treasurer Dereck Davis (D).

Churchill, who is currently deputy director of interagency affairs under Hogan, and started her tenure with the administration as the governor’s press secretary, will become deputy treasurer for communications and public affairs.

“She brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of state government, and I look forward to her leading the office’s efforts to be as communicative and transparent as possible,” Davis said in a statement Monday.

Churchill is a veteran communications professional who also served as press secretary under former Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. (R). She also worked on Ehrlich’s campaign and had a variety of jobs in the private sector between the Ehrlich and Hogan administrations. Despite working for two Republican governors, Churchill has always maintained that she’s a Democrat; she’s married to Ellington Churchill, secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services.

“Shareese has been an integral part of our communications team since day one of our Administration in 2015,” Hogan said. “Although the Treasurer’s Office is just across the street, Shareese will be greatly missed here in the State House. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors as she continues to serve the people of our great state.”

With Churchill leaving the administration, we wonder: Who will shout “last question” at Hogan’s news conferences during his final 4 1/2 months in office?