Baltimore Sun

Baltimore sheriff race remains too close to call

Challenger Sam Cogen ‘confident’ but cautious

- By Emily Opilo

The race for Baltimore sheriff is coming down to the wire after four days of mail-in ballot and provisiona­l vote counting have failed to produce a clear winner.

Since last week, challenger Sam Cogen has maintained a narrow lead over his former boss, John Anderson, but with about 3,800 ballots left to count, the race remains too close to call.

As of Wednesday night, when provisiona­l ballots were added to the total, Cogen had 37,570 votes to Anderson’s 35,272 — a 2,298-vote margin. No counting was planned Thursday.

Anderson last led the race early on election night. He narrowly won among early voters; however, Cogen had a slight edge with voters who cast ballots on primary day. Cogen also bested Anderson on three of four days of mail-in ballot counting.

Cogen said Thursday he feels confident, but he will wait until all votes are counted before claiming victory.

“We don’t believe there is a realistic path that Anderson could win at this point with the number of votes left and our current lead,” Cogen said. “We are also doing well with the mail-ins, and we are confident that this trend will continue.”

Canvassing in Baltimore will resume Friday when city election officials hope to finish counting the remaining mail-in ballots.

Representa­tives for Anderson’s campaign could not be reached for comment. His salary was $157,000 in fiscal year 2021.

Anderson, first appointed sheriff by then Gov. William Donald Schaeffer, has held the post more than 30 years. Cogen, a former deputy in the office who left in November, has waged a spirited campaign, pledging to modernize the office, which he said has been technologi­cally inadequate during Anderson’s tenure.

Cogen also has promised reforms to “humanize” the city’s eviction process, which falls under the sheriff ’s authority.

The sheriff ’s approach to evictions has been a sore subject for some on the Baltimore City Council, and criticism came to a head in the weeks ahead of the July 19 primary. As members weighed Anderson’s budget in June, several lamented his office’s practice of placing eviction notices on shared or exterior doors to apartment buildings when deputies find the doors to be locked.

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