Pittman, Elfreth claim victory as several races await final counts of mail-in ballots
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) and state Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) rode a huge surge of favorable mail-in votes to topple their Republican challengers after trailing on election night — before any mail-in ballots had been counted.
Pittman and Elfreth claimed victory Tuesday night, a week after Election Day — and their come-from-behind wins, though not entirely unanticipated, are being repeated by Democrats in counties and districts throughout the state.
Pittman had been trailing his Republican challenger, County Councilmember Jessica Haire, for a full week, but pulled ahead with the latest count of mail-in ballots late Tuesday. He tweeted at 11:37 p.m. that Haire had called to concede.
The latest results, posted on the Maryland State Board of Elections website early Wednesday morning, showed Pittman with 88,033 votes, or 49.97%, to 87,841 votes, or 49.86%, for Haire. Pittman has won about 70% of the vote in the mail-in tallies, with more ballots yet to be counted.
Pittman is scheduled to discuss the election results Wednesday morning at his Glen Burnie campaign office alongside supporters.
The boost from mail-in votes is clearly helping other Democratic candidates in Anne Arundel County.
Elfreth claimed victory with results Tuesday night showing her with 55.46% of the vote compared to 44.45% for MacDonald.
“On Election Night, we were certain that when the votes were counted we would see a clear victory for our grassroots campaign,” Elfreth said in a statement. “Tonight, I am proud to share that we are victorious. While we will not know the exact margin of our victory for a bit longer, I am elated that due to the hard work of our volunteers — and as a result of our common sense, solutions-driven message — our campaign won with the highest margin in this seat in at least 20 years.
In Anne Arundel’s District 12B, another Democrat in a legislative race has pulled ahead after trailing on election night. Gary Simmons as of Tuesday night had 51.37% of the vote, a lead of 248 raw votes over Republican Ashley Arias, who had 48.46%. The district was represented by Del. Ned Carey (D), who is retiring.
In the open-seat District 33 Senate race, attorney Dawn Gile (D) pulled ahead of Del. Sid Saab (R) for the first time Tuesday night — good for a 50.91% to 48.98% lead. In an email to supporters midday Tuesday, Gile said she has received three-quarters of the mail-in votes so far.
“We continue to be patient with the counting process (as challenging as patience is to have right now!) and feel very good about where the numbers are,” she wrote.
Del. Heather Bagnall (D-Anne Arundel) has been trailing her challenger, Kerry Gillespie (R), all week, but pulled to almost even Tuesday night and seems poised to win. With the latest votes tallied, Gillespie had 50.29% to Bagnall’s 49.61%, a margin of 110 votes.
Republicans continue to lead two other closely-watched races in the state, but Democrats are catching up and could overtake their GOP opponents.
In the open-seat race for Frederick County executive, state Sen. Michael Hough (R) led County Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater (D), 50.98% to 48.88% — a margin of 2,063 votes. But Fitzwater has won more than 70% of the mail ballots counted so far, with at least 5,400 more to be counted.
In Harford County, where County Executive-elect Robert Cassilly (R) has given up his 34th District Senate seat, former Del. Christian Miele (R) led former Del. Mary-Dulany James (D) in the race to succeed him, 50.44% to 49.34% on Tuesday night, a split of 464 raw votes. Here, too, mail-in ballots are aiding the Democrat, but it isn’t clear if there are enough for James to win.
However, the two Democrats running in Harford County’s House District 34A appear to have prevailed. As of Tuesday night, County Councilmember Andre Johnson (D) had 29.01% and Del. Steve Johnson (D) had 25.86%. Former Del. Glen Glass (R) was in third place with 24.15%, 724 raw votes behind Steve Johnson.
And in District 9A, a two-seat subdistrict that is mostly in Howard County but takes in a sliver of Montgomery County, Del. Trent Kittleman (R) was clinging to a lead Tuesday night. But at least one of the two Democratic candidates is also almost certain to prevail, and the other could wind up overtaking Kittleman depending on how many mail-in ballots remain to be counted.
Kittleman had 26.89% (16,605 votes), while Democrat Natalie Ziegler had 26.12% (16,130 votes) and Democrat Chao Wu had 25.83% (15,948 votes).