County Council Vice President Evan Glass declared victory Thursday in his bid for re-election to an at-large seat in the Democratic primary, while two other incumbents — council President Gabe Albornoz and member Will Jawando — remain in strong positions as the tally of mail-in ballots got underway.
Glass, Jawando, and Albornoz are first, second and third, respectively, in the race for four at-large seats, according to the latest totals of early voting and Election Day ballots from the State Board of Elections. The council vice president received 43,534 votes (18.26%), Jawando had 41,177 votes (17.27%), and Albornoz collected 36,955 votes (15.5%).
Newcomers Laurie-Anne Sayles was in fourth place — the last spot to advance to the November general election — with 31,926 votes (13.39%), while Scott Goldberg was in fifth place with 26,231 votes (11%).
Council Member Tom Hucker — who represents District 5 covering Silver Spring, Takoma Park and East County — also was running for an at-large seat, after switching from a bid for county executive in April. He was in sixth place with 24,899 votes (10.45%), roughly 7,000 behind Sayles as of Thursday afternoon.
Hucker could not immediately be reached for comment via phone or a text message Thursday. Dave Kunes, his campaign manager, declined to comment via a text message.
Glass wrote in text messages to Bethesda Beat that he was confident that as county election workers started counting tens of thousands of mail-in ballots, the results would remain favorable to him.
“As we watch the mail-in ballots being counted, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and begin the hard work needed to continue making progress,” Glass wrote in a text.
The first canvass of mail-in ballots started at 10 a.m. Thursday. The State Board of Elections showed that 34,867 ballots had been received by the Montgomery County Board of Elections as of Wednesday — and 30,204 of those were Democratic ballots.
David Naimon, secretary of the county Board of Elections, wrote in a text message to Bethesda Beat that results from the first day of canvassing would be uploaded to the state Board of Elections by the end of Thursday, but was not clear on when.
The elections board’s website shows that canvassing will continue at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Montgomery College Germantown campus. Canvassing started there on Thursday.
Albornoz said in an interview that he felt “optimistic” about his chances for re-election to a second term, but added that he was awaiting the mail-in ballot count, which is expected to take multiple days.
Both Albornoz and Goldberg believe Sayles, a Gaithersburg City Council Member from 2017 to 2021, is in a good position to grab the final spot in the at-large race.
“Laurie-Anne ran a very effective campaign,” Albornoz said. “She had a number of important endorsements, and she has municipal experience on the [Gaithersburg City] Council level … . She’s also been engaged with a variety of organizations, not just in Gaithersburg, but countywide.”
“I think Laurie-Anne Sayles has a number of great things going for her,” Goldberg said. “She has served in an elected capacity, she lives further outside the [Capital] Beltway, she got a lot of influential support in the campaign, she’s thoughtful, and she’s a kind human being.”
Sayles could not immediately be reached for comment via phone or text message on Thursday.
While mail-in ballots still needed to be counted, both Goldberg and Albornoz said that it’s probable that the results of the tally will reflect the current trends seen in early voting and on Election Day.
It’s difficult to say how long the mail-in ballot count will take. The county Board of Elections has less workers available than usual because the primary took place in July instead of June, Albornoz said. The election was delayed because of legal challenges to the state congressional and legislative maps.
If races remain close, the final tally could come down to provisional ballots — which take more time to process than the typical mail-in ballot, Albornoz added.
According to the state elections board website, provisional ballots are used if voters were previously unable to prove their address, due to moving or because a county elections board does not have it on file for some other reason.
Provisional ballots can also be cast by voters on Election Day or during early voting if they received but did not submit a mail-in ballot, or if records incorrectly show they already voted, according to the state board.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org