Welcome to Baltimore Fishbowl’s live blog of the primary elections! The day where Marylanders choose their political party’s candidate ahead of the November general election was not without its head-scratching drama, as machines didn’t work and polling places got shuffled around. Oh, and an estimated 80,000 people were affected by a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) computer glitch that failed to register changes in people’s address or party affiliation; those impacted by the snafu were told to cast provisional ballots.
Polls across the state are closing at 8 p.m., but here in Baltimore, some locations are staying open until 9 p.m. as a result of some of the aforementioned confusion.
We’re going to keep you updated on the latest results and, hopefully, provide some context and analysis as the returns roll in.
12:07 a.m. The Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive is still too close to call, but pretty much all of the other local races appear to be set in stone. Now it’s on state elections administrators to certify the results, and to deal with any legal fallout from the voter-registration snafus that kicked off today. We’re signing off for tonight, but we’ll be back with more analysis (and maybe some official results) tomorrow morning. (BW/EM.)
11:52 p.m. Though results are still trickling in from some precincts, 98 percent of the vote is in and it appears turnout is down. Per Todd Eberly, a professor of political science at St. Mary’s College, roughly 20 percent of the electorate showed up at the polls.
3.9 million registered voters in MD. Looks like about 800K will participate in the primary – roughly 20%.
— Todd Eberly (@ToddEberly) June 27, 2018
During the 2016 primary, when votes for the presidential election were on the line, nearly 1.4 million Marylanders cast ballots. In 2014, the previous primary in an off year, the turnout was roughly 740,000. (BW)
11:20 p.m. With 98 percent of the votes in for the Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive, the contest remains a dead heat. Per The Sun‘s vote tracker, former two-term state delegate John “Johnny O” Olszewski, Jr. sits in first with 33.1 percent of the vote. Breathing down his neck is third-term state Sen. Jim Brochin with 32.7 percent, and right behind him is current Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond at 31.8 percent.
Given the kerfuffle surrounding voter registration issues, plus the fact that the call will come down to mere hundreds of ballots, don’t be surprised if it takes a few days for the winner of this race to become official. (EM)
11:14 p.m. On the heels of a crime bill that many attacked, State Sen. Bobby Zirkin appeared vulnerable to progressives and was challenged from the left by Sheldon Laskin, a lawyer and community activist, for the senate seat in District 11. The race had high-profile endorsements (David Simon and City Councilman Zeke Cohen both backed Laskin), intrigue (in the form of a last-minute endorsement from the Jewish community site JMore for Zirkin that falsely claimed Laskin supported the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement) and a clever phrase (that Zirkin is #NotWirkin).
Even with all that, Zirkin cruised to re-election, winning 70 percent of the votes to Laskin’s 29.7, with 98 percent of precincts reporting. (BW)
11:04 p.m. Attention, Baltimoreans: Marilyn Mosby will remain on as your state’s attorney for the next four years. With 90 percent of votes in, the prosecutor who rode a tide of public support to unseat Gregg Bernstein in 2014 has grabbed 48.5 percent of the vote tonight to best former prosecutors-turned-defense attorneys Ivan Bates and Thiru Vignarajah.
Both The Real News Network’s Baynard Woods and The Sun’s Justin Fenton have posited a stubborn question from throughout this race: What would have come of the contest had it been two ways, rather than three? As you ponder that, the incumbent celebrates. It’s her crime fight through 2022. (EM)
10:57 p.m. In Baltimore’s 43rd District, it looks like Del. Curt Anderson may hold on to his seat by the skin of his teeth amid an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
Del. Maggie McIntosh has a comfortable lead and Regina T. Boyce, an employee of Strong City Baltimore and former community liaison in the Office of the City Council President, has the second most votes, ahead of Anderson by a slim margin. The next closest challenger is Nilesh Kalyanaraman, a doctor at a community health center, trails Anderson by 238 votes with 89 percent of the precincts reporting in.
The other incumbent, Mary Washington, is leading her race to become state senator. (BW)
10:48 p.m. According to the Real News Network’s Jaisal Noor, who is reporting live from Ben Jealous’ watch party here in Baltimore, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has conceded the race.
Breaking news: Rushern Baker has conceded to Ben Jealous
— Jaisal Noor (@jaisalnoor) June 27, 2018
Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, will challenge Gov. Larry Hogan in November to become the first African-American governor in the history of the state.
Candidate Alec Ross sent along a statement congratulating Jealous on the nomination. “I look forward to helping Ben win this fall and to joining him on the trail to talk about his plan for preparing Maryland for the 21st Century economy.”
In prepared remarks sent along by his campaign, Jealous had some fighting words for the GOP incumbent:
“Today we have come together, from all corners of Maryland, to send a message to the Republican Administration in Annapolis – that their time in power is coming to an end. Voters in Maryland now face a clear choice. Larry Hogan’s ‘go along to get along’ politics and his policies on almost every issue stand in direct contrast to my vision for Maryland.” (BW/EM)
10:30 p.m. There was a big push in the 46th District by the precinct’s slate of elected officials to back Del. Robbyn Lewis, the most junior member and also one of the most vulnerable. As The Intercept’s Rachel M. Cohen outlined, former Obama administration member Nate Loewentheil entered the election with support from his days at the White House, and he ran a campaign on city crime. But there was a strong push to support Lewis that even included a kind-of cheesy, kind-of endearing video of members of the Baltimore City Council singing her praises.
With 81 percent of votes in, it appears Lewis won her seat convincingly, as did the other incumbents, Dels. Luke Clippinger and Brooke Lierman. State Sen. Bill Ferguson ran unopposed. (BW)
10:21 p.m. At least a couple Baltimore state Senate seats appear ready to change hands from older incumbents to younger challengers. In District 40, Del. Antonio Hayes (64 percent) is crushing incumbent Sen. Barbara Robinson (36 percent), with 81 percent of votes in. And in District 45, Del. Cory McCray (58 percent) holds a hefty lead over Nathaniel McFadden (42 percent) with nearly three fifths of votes counted.
The race is a bit closer still in District 43, where Del. Mary Washington leads incumbent Sen. Joan Carter Conway 52 to 48 percent. That’s the count with 57 percent of votes in.
Recently appointed 41st District Sen. Jill Carter appears to be sailing to victory with 53 percent of the vote, compared to J.D. Merrill’s 41 percent. Disgraced former senator Nat Oaks hasn’t been quite as big of a threat as some predicted, accidentally grabbing 6 percent of the vote. Just over half of votes have been counted there. (EM)
10:10 p.m. With more than 72 percent of precincts reporting statewide, Ben Jealous appears primed for victory, with 39 percent of the vote to Rushern Baker’s 31 percent.
And while the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s race was noticeably heated over the last few weeks, the results aren’t indicating that it was a close race. Incumbent Marilyn Mosby holds a commanding 50 percent of the vote, with Ivan Bates in second at 30 percent and Thiru Vignarajah at 21 percent. (EM)
10:04 p.m. The Democratic race for Baltimore County executive is incredibly, incredibly tight, with County Councilwoman Vicki Almond, former state delegate Johnny Olszewski Jr. and state Sen. Jim Brochin all hovering around each other. Olszewski Jr. leads by a hair, with 33.2 percent of the vote, over Brochin, who has 32.5 percent. Almond trails at 31.7 percent, with 88 percent of districts reporting.
On the Republican side, the Gov. Larry Hogan-endorsed Al Redmer Jr., the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, is ahead of the Trump-esque Pat McDonough, 55.9 percent to 44.1 percent. (BW)
9:41 p.m. Shortly after results started rolling in from the Maryland State Board of Elections, the Associated Press called the race for the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Senate for incumbent Ben Cardin.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) June 27, 2018
The race gained some national attention with a challenge from Chelsea Manning, the former soldier and whistleblower in the Wikileaks case, but the early call and results thus far–Cardin leads by more than 77 points in the early going–seem to indicate her campaign never really gained traction. (BW)
9:37 p.m.: It’s still very early, but we have our first indicators on who’s leading, based on results from 237 of 1,991 precincts. In the governor’s race, Ben Jealous and running mate Susan Turnbull are leading the Rushern Baker-Elizabeth Embry ticket by roughly eight points.
For Baltimore’s six Senate primary races, here’s the polling scorecard so far:
- District 40: Del. Antonio Hayes (61.2 percent) leads incumbent Sen. Barbara Robinson (38.8 percent).
- District 41: Incumbent Sen. Jill Carter (57.2 percent) sits ahead of J.D. Merrill (36.8 percent).
- District 43: Incumbent Sen. Joan Carter Conway has 54.5 percent of the vote, while Del. Mary Washington has 45.5 percent.
- District 44: Democrat Shirley Nathan-Pulliam has a commanding 67 percent of the vote over challenger Aletheia McCaskill.
- District 45: Del. Cory McCray (62.2 percent) has the advantage over longtime incumbent Sen. Nathaniel McFadden (38.2 percent).
- District 46: Democratic Sen. Bill Ferguson is running unopposed. (EM)
9:22 p.m.: The race for state’s attorney in Baltimore will no doubt have far-reaching impacts for the city and several high-profile cases–and one in particular is likely to draw more national attention to the campaign.
Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer, activist and family friend of Adnan Syed, whose murder trial captivated millions in the podcast “Serial,” tweeted that the “results can change the course of Adnan’s life.”
The polls close in 30 minutes. It's been a rough day and I've had a knot in my gut knowing the Baltimore DA results can change the course of Adnan's life.
I just spoke to him 10 mins ago. We wait and we pray.#FreeAdnan
— rabia O'chaudry (@rabiasquared) June 26, 2018
Challenger Ivan Bates told Rolling Stone he would drop charges against Syed in the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee. Former Maryland Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah, on the other hand, has worked for the state as Syed and his legal team have appealed for a new trial, which a judge granted in March. He is still working for the state on a freelance basis. Mosby’s office has said it would review the case in the event of a new trial but has otherwise been mum.
Locally, the election will have an impact on the closely followed murder trial of Keith Davis Jr., whose third trial in the death of a Pimlico Race Course security guard, Kevin Jones, ended last week with a hung jury for the second time. Bates condemned Mosby’s handling of the case and has won the support of Davis’ wife, Kelly. Mosby’s office said it is assessing whether it will try Davis a fourth time. (BW)
8:55 p.m.: As we patiently await the first reports from 1,991 voting precincts, two candidates are calling upon Maryland elections officials to release “relevant public information” to the 81,000 or so voters who the state failed to properly register to vote due to an error by the MVA. All of them were asked to vote using provisional ballots.
“Since the state did release information about the initial 18,000 provisional voters once it was known that they had been incorrectly registered,” said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Madaleno Jr. and 6th congressional district candidate David Trone in a statement, “it is only logical to do the same for these 81,000 provisional voters.
“We should not wait any longer before actively resolving this issue: the due process of our elections is at stake; making voting more difficult or confusing greatly endangers our democracy.”
A release from Trone and Madaleno said they have prepared a draft legal complaint in case the state does not release any information to those affected by the error. (EM)