George Harman won the Republican primary for Baltimore County executive last month by 20 votes, election officials said after a rare recount.

Harman, an environmental consultant from Reisterstown, will face Democratic County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in the general election.

"I'm going to focus on open, honest and ethical government," Harman said.

GOP rival Tony Campbell requested the recount last week after trailing Harman by 18 votes in the June 24 primary election.

Officials began counting about 28,000 ballots Tuesday morning and finished that evening. Harman expanded his lead over Campbell by two votes after officials counted two provisional ballots for Harman.

County election director Katie Brown said she had expected the recount to take about 10 days, but "a great joint effort by everybody" helped make the process run smoothly.

More than 60 people helped count ballots, including most of the Board of Elections staff and elections officials from Montgomery and Howard counties.

Brown said she has not yet determined the cost of the recount, but printing expenses are likely to be the biggest part. She said it was the first recount in the county in the nearly 30 years she has worked for the Board of Elections.

Campbell, a lecturer in political science at Towson University from Towson, said he would be unlikely to support Harman in November.

Campbell, who is black, said on his Facebook page that a Harman supporter had distributed a flier Campbell described as "racially charged."

The flier included a photo of Michelle Obama, a logo for Republicans for Obama in 2012 and excerpts of blog posts Campbell wrote about Barack Obama during Obama's first presidential campaign.

Campbell said he wrote blog posts for Republicans for Obama in 2008 and 2009, but supported Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

"I don't believe I can support a candidate whose volunteers admitted this week to handing out racially charged materials for the sole purpose of sabotaging my campaign," Campbell said on the Facebook page.

Harman said the flier was not connected to his campaign.

"It was not authorized in any way, shape or form," he said. "It had nothing to do with my campaign."

alisonk@baltsun.com

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