District 32 candidate considering recount with 73 votes separating winner and loser

Chase Cook
Contact Reporterccook@capgaznews.com

Republican candidate Maureen Bryant is considering a recount after provisional and absentee ballot counts put her 73 votes behind Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso for the District 32 Senate nomination.

Grasso, R-Glen Burnie, was leading Bryant by 71 votes before provisional and absentee ballot counts were finished Friday. The gap between Grasso and Bryant isn’t enough to warrant a free recount.

Bryant would have to pay for the recount herself, but she said a supporter — who was not identified — has offered to pay for the recount as an in-kind contribution. The recount would be free if it changes the election result or Bryant gains 2 percent of total votes cast.

Whether the recount happens or not, Bryant said she is staying in the political realm.

“I didn’t run just to run,” Bryant said. “I’m not going to go away. A private citizen can get bills passed too.”

The cost of a recount is not listed on the Maryland State Board of Elections website. Election officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

Bryant’s recount petition has to be filed within three days of certified election results. Election officials have 10 days to verify election counts after which they certify the results, according to election law. All results are unofficial until certification.

The race between Bryant and Grasso started amiably. The two hugged in a meeting with The Capital Gazette editorial board on June 7. But days later Bryant and Grasso were trading barbs in mailers sent out to District 32 residents.

Bryant hit Grasso over his support of the stormwater management fee, often called the “rain tax” by Republicans. That fee is collected by the county to pay for stormwater projects.

Those projects are necessary to meet federal mandates on pollutants that weave their way into local streams and the Chesapeake Bay. Republicans have argued that state and local governments should have found another way to pay for the projects rather than charging a fee.

Grasso responded with mailers saying that Bryant’s campaign was lying and misrepresenting his position.

He did not immediately return a request for comment.

Bryant presented herself as an alternative to the leadership style of Grasso, who has been a controversial councilman.

The Glen Burnie councilman defends himself aggressively and doesn’t have a problem confronting political opponents.

At one point he called County Executive Steve Schuh “two-faced” as the two disagreed on changes to laws governing the approval of developments near crowded schools.

He also finds himself voting with Democrats on certain issues, namely the environment. Most recently Grasso supported a ban on plastic foam containers. Schuh vetoed the bill.

The council lacked the five votes needed for a veto override.

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