Nearly two weeks after the primary election, the Republican primary for Baltimore County executive came down to 18 votes, with George Harman of Reisterstown edging out Tony Campbell of Towson.
County election officials on Monday formally completed the task of counting ballots. Unless a potential recount yields different results, Harman will face Democratic County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in the November general election.
"The key point for everybody on both sides is that every single vote counts," Harman said.
Counties certified their results Monday and sent them to the state Board of Elections. State certification takes place Wednesday.
The executive contest in Baltimore County was tight from the start, with more than 20,000 votes cast countywide. After the June 24 primary, Harman held a 22-vote margin over Campbell, with candidate Gregory Prush a distant third. Since then, election officials have counted absentee, provisional and military ballots.
On Monday, they had tallied 10,361 votes for Harman, and 10,343 for Campbell.
Harman, a Reisterstown resident and retired program manager for the state Department of the Environment, called the vote-counting process stressful, but said he hopes the situation highlights the importance of voting.
Campbell, who teaches at Towson University and once served as chairman of the county GOP, noted that state law allows him to request a recount, but he has not yet decided whether to seek one.
"This just happened today, and it's still a little raw," he said.
Candidates who request a recount must bear the costs unless the margin of victory is .1 percent or less of the total vote. The Campbell-Harman race in Baltimore County would qualify.
The deadline to request a recount is Thursday.