With a 252-vote lead after Tuesday's Democratic primary and about 200 absentee ballots still to be counted, Del. John A. Giannetti Jr. appeared triumphant yesterday in his bid to unseat veteran Sen. Arthur Dorman for the District 21 state Senate seat.
"I'm feeling pretty high," Giannetti said yesterday afternoon. He said he would wait until the absentee ballots are counted today to claim victory, but he was confident he would prevail. The winner of the primary wins the election; no Republican filed to run.
Dorman, however, said he hopes to do well on the absentee ballots - and leaves open the possibility of requesting a recount, if needed, after votes are certified by the state this month.
Already, Giannetti is acting like a winner. He spoke yesterday with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who invited him to a fund-raiser Tuesday for the Democratic state Senate candidates at Baltimore's Harbor Court Hotel.
With all precincts reporting yesterday, Giannetti had 51.5 percent of the vote and Dorman 48.5 percent in the race to represent the district, most of which is in Prince George's County and which also includes part of western Anne Arundel.
Both counties will begin counting their absentee ballots at 10 a.m. today. Anne Arundel sent out 30 absentee ballots, and officials didn't know yesterday how many had been returned. Prince George's sent out 212 absentee ballots, and about 150 had been returned by early yesterday.
"Even if he gets every single one of them, I still win," Giannetti said. "The margin will be razor-thin, but razor-thin still wins."
Neither county has planned to recount the ballots.
Dorman said yesterday that he had not decided whether he would request a recount. The 37-year veteran of the state legislature was stunned that the race was so close and at a loss to explain why.
Dorman said his opponent's "dirty tricks" included misrepresenting Dorman's stand on abortion and giving voters the impression that the 75-year-old wasn't up to the job anymore. Dorman missed 10 of the 12 weeks of the last legislative session because of back surgery.