Ab­sen­tee bal­lots key for House GOP race

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TA­MARA WARD tward@somd­news.com

House Mi­nor­ity Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) sailed to an easy win, again, in the Demo­cratic pri­mary Tues­day night in his bid to re­tain his con­gres­sional seat another two years — although there re­mains a pos­si­bil­ity his win­ning Repub­li­can chal­lenger could change.

“I am proud to rep­re­sent Mary­land’s Fifth District in Congress and I thank vot­ers for sup­port­ing me in the pri­mary elec­tion to­day. I have a proven record as an ef­fec­tive leader who ad­dresses the pri­or­i­ties

of fam­i­lies through­out the Fifth District,” shared the 35-year in­cum­bent via a press state­ment.

Hoyer gar­nered 79 per­cent of the votes at the district level for a to­tal of 79,453 votes. His per­for­mance was sim­i­lar at the county level where he grabbed 74 per­cent of 21,247 votes, for a to­tal of 15,714 county votes earned. Deb­bie F. Wil­son was in a very dis­tant sec­ond with only 2,803 votes in Charles County.

While Hoyer’s win on elec­tion night was de­ci­sive, the District 5 Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion still hangs in the bal­ance.

The fi­nal re­sult of the race between Port Re­pub­lic’s Mark Ar­ness (R) and Sam Fad­dis (R) of Anne Arun­del County pos­si­bly hinges upon the pro­cess­ing of ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional bal­lots.

Ar­ness snapped up 4,517 votes in Charles, beat­ing Fad­dis out by nearly 500 votes. Ar­ness cap­tured 21,449 votes to Fad­dis’ 18,969, edg­ing him out 53 per­cent to 46.9 per­cent of the district. While the 6 per­cent mar­gin is not wide enough to defini­tively call a win­ner, it is cause for a cel­e­bra­tion for Ar­ness.

“I was more sur­prised than any­one. … I ex­pected to wake up to re­move my signs from the highway,” chuck­led Ar­ness.

Ar­ness, who has a small in­for­mal cam­paign staff, said he was un­able to watch much of the elec­tion cov­er­age be­cause he spent most of night re­mov­ing his signs from polling precincts across the district.

“I ex­pected Mr. Fad­dis to gar­ner the nom­i­na­tion be­cause he had spent a tremen­dous amount of money cam­paign­ing, over $200,000. … I did not have those re­sources.”

Ar­ness said he spent slightly less than $30,000 on his cam­paign and at­tributes his suc­cess to the per­sonal touch of grass­roots cam­paign­ing.

“I reached out per­son­ally to over 3,000 vot­ers by knock­ing on doors and mak­ing calls — talk­ing to peo­ple and vis­it­ing peo­ple,” he said. “I met many peo­ple. Per­sons of both par­ties and un­af­fil­i­ated per­sons.”

As for next steps, Ar­ness is pro­ceed­ing with cau­tion.

“We’ll have to wait for the of­fi­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion from the Board of Elec­tions on May 6,” shared Ar­ness. “Once the elec­tion is cer­ti­fied, we’ll move for­ward to con­tinue the grass­roots cam­paign.”

Ac­cord­ing to records on the State Board of Elec­tions site, in the 5th con­gres­sional district of Mary­land, 8,434 ab­sen­tee bal­lots were re­quested by the April 22 dead­line. Reg­is­tered Repub­li­cans ac­count for 2,532 of the ab­sen­tee bal­lot re­quests. To date, 4,599 of the ab­sen­tee bal­lots have been pro­cessed, of which 1,431 are Repub­li­can.

In the in­terim, Ar­ness is grate­ful for the vote of con­fi­dence, es­pe­cially af­ter al­le­ga­tions about his mil­i­tary his­tory sur­faced near the elec­tion’s end.

“I want to ex­tend my heart­felt thanks for all the sup­port. … Thank you, vot­ers, for turn­ing out and for cast­ing bal­lots for me and the tremen­dous out­pour­ing of sup­port in the last weeks,” Ar­ness said.

Fad­dis did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

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