Brochin camp says request for recount in 9-vote Baltimore County executive's race could come Tuesday

State Sen. Jim Brochin said he’ll file a request for a recount in the Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive — which he lost by just nine votes — as early as Tuesday afternoon.

In the morning, the county Board of Elections is scheduled to certify the election results, which have former Del. Johnny Olszewski Jr. as the victor over Brochin, County Councilwoman Vicki Almond and Kevin Marron.

The certification opens a three-day window for any of the losing candidates to file a petition for a recount.

“We need this process to come to a conclusion, everybody does,” said Tim Hodge, an attorney for Brochin’s campaign. “When you’re only nine votes away, you have to do the recount.”

Hodge said the request would be filed Tuesday or Wednesday. He said he believes state law requires a recount to begin within two days of the request.

“We just want to get the recount process started as fast as possible,” he said.

Olszewski’s victory wasn’t apparent until all absentee and provisional ballots were reviewed and counted, more than a week after election day.

He ended up nine votes ahead of Brochin out of 84,569 total votes cast. Almond was 960 votes behind Brochin. Marron received 2,135 votes.

The state offers multiple options for recounts, such as re-scanning ballots or reviewing them manually. Katie Brown, Baltimore County’s elections director, said the most extensive form of a recount would take at least five days to complete.

The Brochin and Olszewski campaigns will meet with elections officials on Tuesday to learn more about the law and options. Hodge said he hoped the campaigns and elections officials could work out a “streamlined and organized process.”

Brochin would not be required to pay for a recount, according to state law that says a candidate is not responsible for the cost if the margin is less than 0.1 percent — in this case, about 84 votes.

Brochin said it was important to re-check the results because voters who supported him deserve a result that’s certain.

“Tens of thousands of people voted for me,” Brochin said. “When there’s only nine votes separating the candidates … we need to be certain. A recount will make it certain.”

Olszewski, meanwhile, is focusing on the general election campaign even as his staff is involved in the likely recount process. Olszewski said he wants to make sure every vote is counted, though he emphasized he has the “utmost trust and confidence” in county elections officials.

“This is a campaign about ensuring open, transparent government. That’s not going to stop now,” Olszewski said.

Almond’s campaign could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The winner of the Democratic primary faces Republican nominee Al Redmer Jr., who handily defeated state Del. Pat McDonough in the Republican primary.

Recounts around the region

The Baltimore County executive’s race isn’t the only one heading toward a recount.

In Howard County, incumbent Councilman Jon Weinstein, an Ellicott City Democrat, requested a recount Monday in his re-election bid. Weinstein fell short to challenger Liz Walsh by two votes in final tallies by county election officials. That recount is expected to begin Wednesday.

Weinstein said he heard from nearly 200 people over the weekend who urged him to request a recount in a race he called a “virtual tie.”

And in Anne Arundel County, Republican state Senate candidate Maureen Bryant is considering requesting a recount. In that county’s election results, she fell short by 73 votes to County Councilman John Grasso. The two are competing for the Republican nomination in a district in the northern and western part of the county.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Kate Magill and Chase Cook contributed to this article.

This story was featured in The Sun's Alexa Flash Briefing on July 9, 2018.

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