After more than a week of waiting, the suspense came to an end July 7 for two candidates vying for the second Democratic spot in the general election for state delegate from District 44B in the Maryland General Assembly.
Pat Young, a Catonsville resident and coordinator of Veterans Services at Towson University, had 34 more votes than Aaron J. Barnett after the Baltimore County Board of Elections staff finished counting ballots the afternoon of July 7. He will move on to the Nov. 4 general election along with fellow Democrat Charles Sydnor. The two will be joined by the lone Republican candidate, Michael J. Russell, a student at University of Maryland, in the general election.
"It's just exciting...We're looking forward to moving on to the general election," Young said.
Barnett trailed by 49 votes after the June 24 primary election. He
received 32 absentee votes while Young received 24 of the 143 ballots counted, according to Baltimore County Board of Elections results.
Young said he spoke with Barnett, who offered his congratulations.
After the unofficial results were reported shortly after the primary, Young had 3,684 votes and Barnett had 3,635.
That total put both men behind Sydnor, an attorney who resides in Catonsville and received 3,759 votes. Rainier Harvey (2,856 votes) was fourth among the six candidates.
Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, who is the Democratic candidate for state senate in District 44, had endorsed Harvey and Sydnor.
"I could work well with both of them, and I have let them both know," Nathan-Pulliam said after learning Sydnor and Young would be the Democratic candidates in the general election.
Nathan-Pulliam, a Catonsville resident, said the Catonsville community will be "thrilled" to know the two Democratic primary winners are both from Catonsville.
"I'm sure we will all run together," Nathan-Pulliam said. "I will develop a working relationship with them so we can represent the community well."
The more than week-long process of counting absentee and provisional ballots began June 26 at the Bloomsbury Community Center, where the Baltimore County Board of Elections is headquartered.
On July 2, representatives from the campaigns of the two candidates sat anxiously watching as provisional ballots were counted at the Baltimore County Board of Elections office at the community center.
"Watching them count the votes just gives you hope," said Fatima Smith, 46, an administrative aide to Barnett who was present last week at the Bloomsbury Center. "You wouldn't do yourself justice if you didn't see it all the way through."
Smith, a volunteer for Barnett's campaign, spent the day at the center, waiting until all ballots were counted.
"I didn't realize how the process worked until I sat and watched it," Smith said.
Young and his brother, Danny Young, 30, sat side-by-side watching Board of Elections staff process provisional ballots in pairs — one Republican and one Democrat.
"I think it's important to have a representative of the campaign here...and in my opinion it's a continuity of the campaign process, which is why it's necessary to represent the campaign," Pat Young said. "Until every vote is counted, we'll continue to be here."
Danny Young, who volunteered to assist his brother with his campaign, said, "I definitely want him to win, but I'm sure whoever does will do a great job representing residents of this district."
The ballots are checked by staff members to ensure voters haven't already voted, explained board director Katie Brown.
Brown said the close race is an example of "how important it is to vote and how important primary elections are.
"A lot is really decided in the primary and most people don't think that it is," she said.
"It goes to show you how important it is to vote in the primary," Brown said. "It wouldn't put these guys through so much pain and torture too, with the agony of the wait."