This story was updated at 2 p.m. Nov. 9, 2022, to correct some voter totals in the District 9A race. It was updated at 2:45 p.m. Nov. 10, 2022, to correct some results from 2018.
As political observers watched around the country to see if Republicans or Democrats would win critical U.S. Senate and Congressional seats, Montgomery County residents saw a continuation of Democrats winning local seats — given that their large margins hold, and are certified.
County Executive Marc Elrich led the way for local candidates, as he currently leads Republican Reardon Sullivan by about more than 43 percentage points, unofficial results showed Wednesday morning. Democrats held comfortable leads in the County Council races, too.
Here’s a look at some takeaways from the general election in the county.
Elrich, some Democrats could win by larger margins than in 2018
Elrich and several Democrats running for County Council are all leading by comfortable margins — and if the results of mail-in ballots trend toward Democratic votes, some will finish with larger victories than in 2018.
It’s difficult to say why without further analysis, but Democrats said at the polls and at gatherings for candidates last night that a gubernatorial candidate like Democrat Wes Moore at the top of the ticket likely played some role in down ballot races. Moore defeated Republican Dan Cox in Tuesday’s election.
In 2018, Elrich won the general election against Republican Robin Ficker, a perennial candidate countywide, and Nancy Floreen, a former Democratic council member who ran as an unaffiliated, or independent, candidate. In that race, Elrich received 64.7% of the vote.
In Tuesday’s election, against Republican Reardon Sullivan, Elrich currently has about 71.4% of the vote.
In the council races in 2018, Democrats won the at-large races, with the fourth highest vote-getter, Hans Riemer, getting 18.3% of the vote. In 2022, with unofficial results, Will Jawando is in fourth, with 18.6% of the vote.
Results, however, could change as more mail-in ballots are counted. Many Democrats ran unopposed in 2018, outside of Andrew Friedson and Craig Rice in Districts 1 and 2.
This year, all council candidates except Friedson — who ran unopposed in District 1 — had an opponent. As of Wednesday, each was leading with wide margins, under a new seven-district map. All races showed Democrats winning, with at least 60% of the vote.
Under redistricting, Republicans fared better upcounty, but still will likely lose by large margins
In 2021, the county’s redistricting commission was tasked with drawing a map with seven council districts, increasing from the current five-district system. After redrawing the map, the commission — via County Council approval — decided on a map that included two districts that stretched upcounty: districts 2 and 7.
Upcounty is a more conservative area of Montgomery County than mid- to downcounty, meaning Republicans had a greater opportunity to deliver surprise victories. But unofficial results show that although they fared better there than in other local races, they were still running behind their Democratic opponents by sizable margins.
In District 2, Marilyn Balcombe, the Democratic candidate, was beating Republican Cuda by 68.5% to 31.4%. In District 7, Democrat Dawn Luedtke was defeating Republican Harold Moldanado by 61.8% to 38.1%.
Mail-in ballot returns could widen these margins, but the two races were the closest district races out of the seven. Political observers would likely note that Balcombe and Luedtke were two of the more moderate Democratic candidates running out of all the council candidates on ballots countywide.
Trone, Parrott in tight race, while Republicans, Democrats in new House of Delegates District 9A split
Many political insiders not in Maryland but around the United States, were closely observing the early election returns of the state’s 6th Congressional District in which David Trone, the Democratic incumbent, was running against state Del. Neil Parrott, a Republican.
The two also faced off in the district in 2020. But after congressional redistricting last year, District 6 is much more compact and balanced politically — and thus is more competitive. It now stretches into western Maryland, includes all of Frederick County, a purple region politically, and some of northern Montgomery County, the most heavily Democratic part of the region.
As of Wednesday, Parrott held about a 4,500-vote lead on Trone, unofficial results show. But tens of thousands of mail-in ballots still need to be counted, and Trone’s campaign hopes that this will turn the results in his favor. Parrott, according to media reports, is also in a wait-and-see mode.
Candidates running for the House of Delegates in District 9A also are in competitive races, but Democrats and Republicans currently split the two seats. District 9A is part of the new state legislative map, drawn after redistricting. It covers much of Howard County and the northeastern part of Montgomery County, including Damascus.
Democrats Chao Wu with 24.4% of the vote and Natalie Ziegler with 24.5% are running third and second, respectively, according to unofficial results. Incumbent Trent Kittleman and Jianning Jenny Zeng, both Republicans, have 28.7% and 22.5% of the vote, first and fourth respectively.
Vogel, Kaufman make election history in Montgomery County
Joe Vogel and Aaron Kaufman, two first-time candidates in their respective House of Delegates districts, will make history, given that elections results hold.
Vogel was one of three delegates running in District 17 — which covers Rockville and Gaithersburg — and would be one of the first state elected officials in the nation from Generation Z, the group of people born from 1997 to 2012. Vogel is 25.
Kaufman, meanwhile, ran in District 18 — which includes Wheaton, Kensington and Chevy Chase. He has cerebral palsy and has said those with disabilities need better representation in Annapolis, noting that his condition provides a valuable perspective for lawmakers.
Kaufman would likely be the first delegate in Maryland with cerebral palsy, given the election results are certified.
The wait continues in some races — but final results should be available sooner than in July’s primary
After the July primary election, voters had to wait more than a month to see whether Marc Elrich or David Blair won the Democratic primary for county executive, thanks to a mail-in ballot count starting two days after the July 19 election and a recount that took multiple days.
Voters shouldn’t have to wait that long for the final results this time, but it will still take some time. That’s because mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 8 have until Nov. 18 to be received by the county Board of Elections — which is when the canvassing and counting of many mail-in ballots will begin.
There are also provisional ballots cast by voters — which can occur when a voter shows up to the wrong polling place, when a voter has recently moved but the voter’s new address has not shown up in the Board of Elections’ records, if records show a voter has already cast a ballot, or other factors. Voters who believe they have not cast a ballot can cast a provisional ballot, which then requires verification by the board. Canvassing and counting of those ballots is expected to start Nov. 16.
That means in super-tight races, final results might not be known until next week. And that doesn’t include any potential recounts — if the margin between two candidates is less than 0.25%, the recount is free to the candidate who requests it.