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A fluid push into Tuesday’s primary election on July 19, which included support from Oprah Winfrey, has author and military veteran Wes Moore currently in first place and poised to win the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor from among a crowded field of candidates.
Moore began his day Tuesday in Prince George’s County alongside County Executive Angela Alsobrooks at Potomac Landing Elementary School in Fort Washington. Some voters have said Moore, who seeks to become the state’s first Black governor, easily relates to them.
“Voters understand that my story has been their story. I do not come from a place of privilege,” said Moore, a Rhodes Scholar. “My mother didn’t get her first job that gave her benefits until I was 14 years old. When people understand our story, they understand our life’s work and the work to which I’ve devoted my life. It’s their story. That’s why I take this work very personally.”
Voters like Blessing Bangura of Bowie said Moore brings a unique perspective and “an it factor.”
“I have two boys, [ages] 19 and 15. Young Black males need a role model and someone they can relate to,” said Bangura, who works as a disabilities service provider in D.C. “Wes Moore is not only African American but he has the potential to help give back to our community.”
According to unofficial results as of 7:57 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, Moore garnered 137,118 votes. In second place sits former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez with 102,278 votes. State Comptroller Peter Franchot trails in third place with 73,301 votes. The figures are based on 2,035 out of 2,074 precincts reporting.
State law restricts mail-in ballots to be counted until Thursday, July 21, so the deadline to certify results statewide will be July 29.
The majority Democratic Maryland General Assembly passed legislation this year to allow the counting of ballots before Tuesday’s primary but Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the measure amidst “election security” that can create abuse from mail-in voting versus voting in person.
Out of the 3.7 million eligible voters in Maryland, only 172,364, or 4.5%, chose to vote in person during early voting. In comparison, almost 222,480 people voted early four years ago.
As of Monday, election officials received 213,019 ballots placed in drop boxes or sent by mail. Voters had until 8 p.m. to vote in person or place ballots in a drop box. All ballots mailed must be postmarked by Tuesday.
“Every eligible person who has the right to vote and properly cast a vote should be counted,” Perez said to reporters during an election watch party at Tommy Joe’s bar and restaurant in Bethesda. “Part of the reason we have to wait longer [to count votes is] thanks to Larry Hogan. That is not good government. That’s the most polite term I can think of to describe that.”
Here’s how the remaining Democrats fare on the ballot so far:
- Former County Executive Rushern L. Baker III: 15,514 votes.
- Former U.S. Education Secretary John King, Jr.: 12,983 votes.
- Former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler: 12,912 votes.
- Former Barack Obama administration official Ashwani Jain: 7,862 votes.
- Former nonprofit executive Jon Baron: 6,902 votes.
- Retired research scholar Jerome Segal: 2,946 votes.
- Perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe: 1,773 votes.
With the state’s limited number of Republican voters, Del. Dan Cox declared victory Tuesday with the nomination 132,428 votes, according to unofficial results. Cox, who represents portions of Carroll and Frederick counties, received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
The Hogan-backed candidate, former state commerce secretary Kelly Schulz, received 94,850 votes. Perennial candidate and former state Del. Robin Ficker of Montgomery County received 5,060 votes and Joe Werner of Baltimore County with 3,194 votes.
In the contested Democratic race, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) declared victory with 217,748 votes. Retired Judge Katie Curran O’Malley of Baltimore City garnered 147,730 votes. Her husband, former Gov. Martin O’Malley, served with Brown as lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2015.
Brown, of Prince George’s County, amassed a campaign chest of more than $941,000 compared to Curran O’Malley’s $623,000.
The race became tense when O’Malley released a campaign ad that summarized Brown’s record as “never” trying a criminal case in Maryland.
Brown responded on social media to highlight his 30 years as an attorney and work in the U.S. Army that included command of 80 legal professionals.
In a statement released early Wednesday, Brown thanked O’Malley for her service as judge, delivered a “thank you” to the voters and urged a strong Democratic push in the November general election.
“A heartfelt thank you to Maryland voters for putting their faith in me. An attorney general can either be a champion for progress or a defender of the status quo,” Brown said. “We need to be united in our efforts this November to deliver Democratic wins up and down the ballot.”
If the unofficial results stand, Brown will face Republican Michael Anthony Peroutka, who served on the Anne Arundel County Council. Peroutka garnered 115,080 votes. Republican challenger Jim Shalleck, who resigned as president of the Montgomery County Board of Elections to run for attorney general, received 83,218 votes.
The winner in November will replace Attorney General Brian Frosh, who plans to retire.
Another pair of Democrats stand at the top in the race for comptroller – Bowie Mayor Tim Adams and Del. Brooke Lierman of Baltimore City.
Lierman, 43, who also works as a civil rights and disabilities attorney, will receive the nomination with 227,552 votes.
Adams, 63, received 127,901 votes. He owns Systems Application & Technologies Inc. (SA-TECH) of Upper Marlboro. Both had plenty of cash on hand to compete in the race.
According to campaign finance reports filed last month, Lierman has $1.5 million. Adams funded most of his campaign and currently has $965,812.
A recent television commercial showed Lierman holding her daughter with her son standing beside her. She also received the support of prominent Democratic leaders including House Speaker Adrienne Jones, state Sen. Joanne C. Benson (D-District 24) of Landover and Prince George’s County Executive Alsobrooks.
A radio commercial to support Adams featured Del. Darryl Barnes (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.
Lierman will face Harford County Executive Barry Glassman who ran unopposed as the Republican candidate. The seat became open once Franchot decided to run for governor.
Besides working as the state’s tax collector and fiscal watchdog, the comptroller also serves alongside the governor and state treasure on the Maryland Board of Public Works, which approves millions of dollars on government contracts and other spending.
A competitive race in the state’s most populated jurisdiction featured three Democrats vying for the nomination for Montgomery County executive.
Incumbent Marc Elrich garnered nearly 27,000 votes with 246 of the 258 precincts reporting. He received a late endorsement from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) who sits on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol.
“There are two kinds of politicians: power politicians and justice politicians. Marc Elrich has always been the quintessential justice politician,” Raskin said Saturday, July 16.
Elrich received some strong jabs from two opponents – businessman David Blair and County Council member Hans Riemer, who’s term-limited.
Even with Raskin’s support, Blair leads with 28,059 votes. He lost to Elrich by just 77 votes in 2018.
Blair posted a sample ballot comparing his proposal on crime, schools and jobs that criticizes Elrich’s work on the same topics.
Reimer, who’s term-limited, has received 14,574 votes.
He posted on his Twitter page Friday, July 15 that Elrich “is losing support. It’s increasingly clear he will not be reelected. David Blair and I are both rising. Either David or I will win the nomination.”
Peter James, the CEO of Crystal Clear Automation, received 1,395 votes.
In the race for state’s attorney, incumbent John McCarthy has a sizable lead with 30,362 votes to win the Democratic nomination. The other three Democrats include Bernice Mireku-North with 13,067 votes; Perry Paylor with 10,195; and Tom DeGonia with 9,027 votes.
About four dozen people filed to run for at-large and five district seats on the nine-member Montgomery County Council.