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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political notes: Pittman, Anne Arundel Dems confident even though they’re trailing, and more

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) on the campaign trail in 2018. File photo by Josh Kurtz.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) is currently trailing his challenger, County Councilmember Jessica Haire (R), by almost 11,000 votes.

But Pittman on Wednesday was expressing confidence that when all the ballots are counted — especially the 45,000 or more mail-in ballots, which will begin to be tabulated on Thursday — he’ll win.

“The math suggests that I will be re-elected to a second term,” Pittman wrote in a memo to members of his cabinet Wednesday morning.

The math goes something like this: Of the 45,638 uncounted mail-in ballots, 27,367 were cast by Democrats and 9,830 were cast by Republicans, with the rest coming from unaffiliated voters or members of third parties. Additional ballots postmarked by Election Day or put in drop boxes on Election Day will add to the total of uncounted mail-in ballots. And approximately 6,000 provisional ballots have been cast in Anne Arundel.

“I look forward to communicating with each of you in the coming days about the opportunities before us,” Pittman wrote to his cabinet. “You are the best team in the state of Maryland, and I am forever indebted to all of you for the outstanding work that you do as we aspire to make Anne Arundel County The Best Place — For All.”

Doug Mayer, a Haire campaign adviser, suggested that Pittman may be taking the composition of the mail-in votes for granted, and said the early results are damning enough.

“There is no amount of spin that is going to change the reality that is marked on the ballots,” Mayer said. Of the final outcome, he said, “We’ll know soon.”

The sheer volume of mail-in ballots to be counted in Anne Arundel could also impact half a dozen down-ballot races where Republicans are currently ahead but Democrats believe they have a solid chance of winning. These races are:

  • The state Senate race in the 30th District, where Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D) is currently trailing businesswoman Stacie MacDonald (R) by 870 votes.
  • The open state Senate race in the 33rd District, where Del. Sid Saab (R) currently leads attorney Dawn Gile (D) by about 1,600 votes.
  • The open seat House race in District 12B, where Republican Ashley Arias leads Democrat Gary Simmons by seven votes.
  • The House race in District 33C, where Del. Heather Bagnall (D) is trailing conservative activist Kerry Gillespie (R) by about 1,100 votes.
  • The 2nd County Council district, where businessman Noel Smith (R) was leading County Councilmember Allison Pickard (D) by 275 votes.
  • The 6th County Council district, where former Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides (R) is leading Councilmember Lisa Rodvien (D) by 756 votes.

If Democrats win those two council races, they will retain their 4-3 council majority.

After canvassing of the mail-in ballots begins Thursday, the count will continue next Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week, and a canvass of the provisional ballots begins next Wednesday.

Meet the new boss

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott (D) announced this week that he has hired Chezia Cager as his new chief of staff. Cager will assume the position right after Thanksgiving, replacing Michael Huber, who recently became director of state government affairs for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“Chezia brings an impressive wealth of government experience, first-hand knowledge of Baltimore, and a comprehensive understanding of how to develop and maintain beneficial partnerships with federal, state, and local governments for more than fifteen years,” Scott said in a statement.

Cager held senior roles in both the Obama and Biden administrations, covering domestic policy, national operations and external engagements.

Cager also worked for former Mayor Sheila Dixon, among other engagements.

“As a Baltimore native, I’m proud that my public service career began right here at home,” she said. “I’m excited to support Mayor Scott’s vision and continue to serve our citizens and City of Baltimore.”

Talkin’ ‘bout their generation

We were alerted to two interesting and nearly identical tweets that went out within an hour of each other on election night.

The first, issued at 9:15 p.m., read, “My name is Joe Vogel. I’m a 25-year-old immigrant, and I just won my race to become the first GenZ legislator in Maryland. “The generational challenges we face call for a new generation of leadership. I’m ready to fight for the future of my community, my state, and my country.”

About an hour later, another tweet went out.

“My name is Jeffrie Long. I’m a 25-year-old black man, and I just won my race to become the first GenZ legislator in Maryland. We need leadership that is representative of every generation. I’m ready to fight for the future of my community, my state, and my country.”

Oh, to be 25 again. For the record, Vogel will represent Montgomery County’s District 17. Long will represent District 27B, which takes in parts of Prince George’s and Calvert counties.

Seeking suggestions

Comptroller-elect Brooke Lierman (D) is soliciting ideas from Marylanders about how her office should operate come January.

“As Brooke prepares to take office … it is important the transition team hears feedback about your ideas to help us tackle the challenges facing our state,” explains a solicitation form on Lierman’s website, which was revamped early Wednesday. “…These can be big, transformational ideas all the way to the little details that just make government work better.”

Lierman, who has represented a Baltimore City legislative district in the House of Delegates since 2015, was elected Tuesday with 57% of the votes tallied so far. When sworn in, she will be the first woman in state history to hold the post.

On the campaign trail, Lierman has pledged to use the comptroller’s office to guide more equitable and climate-conscious statewide policies.

Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this report. 

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to include a comment from a Haire campaign spokesperson.