Anne Arundel County Council candidates, Republican Mike Pantelides and Democrat Shawn Livingston, conceded in their respective races in District 6 and District 7, while District 2 incumbent Democrat Allison Pickard claimed victory Friday morning.
Other races still remain undecided as the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections continued to count the remaining 9,500 ballots Friday ahead of the deadline to certify election results. Since canvassing began last week, the process has been plagued with delays but officials remained confident they would count all of the ballots and deliver them to the State Board of Elections on Friday.
After learning of his nearly 3,500 vote deficit following Thursday’s ballot canvass, Pantelides, called his opponent, incumbent Democrat Lisa Rodvien, to concede, he said in an email Friday.
“I ran for County Council because I know this county deserves better,” The former Annapolis mayor wrote. “We received a record number of votes for a challenger. That would not have been possible without your help. Although the numbers did not turn in our favor, please know I will continue to be an advocate for this county.”
Rodvien said she was relieved to have her race come to a close and looks forward to continuing to champion her priorities from the dais in a second term.
“I plan on continuing to fight for strong schools and excellent government services,” Rodvien said in an email. “I am also committed to supporting the development of desperately needed affordable housing through smart development as well as creating good environmental policy that will help us tackle climate change’s challenges.”
Livingston concluded he could not make up his nearly 3,000 vote deficit and reached out to his opponent, Republican Shannon Leadbetter, Friday morning.
“This campaign was based on integrity and understanding the needs of our neighbors,” Livingston wrote in a social media post Friday. “I will continue to stand up for our district and call for policies that benefit everyone. Shannon assured me that I can bring the needs of constituents to her any time there are concerns.”
Leadbetter will take the seat vacated by Council member Jessica Haire who conceded to incumbent Democrat Steuart Pittman in the county executive race earlier this week. Leadbetter said Friday she was looking forward to starting work and putting all she’s learned about her district throughout her campaign to use.
“It’s very satisfying to see the hard work pay off,” Leadbetter said. “No matter how well you think you know a particular area or a particular town or district there is always something new to learn about the people, about the communities, about the priorities and those lessons over the past year have absolutely been the highlight of running for office. What I have learned honestly is there is even more to love than I thought there was.”
Incumbent Democratic Council member Allison Pickard declared victory Friday morning in her District 2 reelection campaign.
Noel Smith, a Republican, told The Capital he expected to lose because of the large quantity of outstanding Democratic mail-in ballots last week.
“I am humbled by the outpouring of support and I stand ready to continue my role as County Council member,” Pickard wrote on social media Friday. “Thank you all for [your] support and patience.”
Rodvien, Leadbetter and Pickard are the latest council candidates to claim victory after former District 1 Council member Pete Smith did so Thursday. District 3 Republican incumbent Nathan Volke reclaiming his seat earlier this week and former school board member Julie Hummer doing the same in her race for the District 4 seat last week.
In District 5, the lone undecided council race, the candidates are around 3,000 votes apart.Republican incumbent Amanda Fiedler leads her challenger, Democrat Carl Neimeyer, with 20,065 votes to his 17,104.
A winner won’t be determined until the remaining ballots are tabulated Friday night. Regardless of which District 5 candidate wins, the Democrats are expected to retain control of the County Council next term.
“There’s a very strong path to victory and we’ll know here soon,” Fiedler said Friday afternoon. “I’m still very hopeful and excited about the work that I’ll be able to do with the rest of the council. I have a short list of items I’d like to tackle already.”
While Neimeyer said he knows he’s the underdog, he’s happy to have put his opponent to the test and engaged voters across his district.
“I expected it to be close. I kind of wished it would be closer than that but I think it’s an excellent showing,” Neimeyer said.
In another tight race, Democratic Sheriff candidate Everett Sesker trails Republican Jim Fredericks by 715 votes as of Thursday.
General Assembly races
In the newly drawn District 33B, Republican Stuart Michael Schmidt, Jr. and Democrat John Wakefield were 643 votes apart as of Thursday night. Schmidt leads with 10,157 votes to Wakefield’s 9,514.
“It’s stressful,” Wakefield said in an interview Friday. “I always knew this one was kind of going to be razor thin. ... I’m not in a rush. I’m happy that the election is over and I’m patient enough to let the vote process play out.”
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With his current deficit, Wakefield said he’s not fully confident he’ll get enough votes Friday to make up the difference.
“I expect that I come painfully close and fall just short,” he said. “I’m hoping I either lose by more than 100 or win. I just don’t want to lose by a small enough margin that I have to spend the next several months of my life regretting the one more thing I could have done to get a couple more votes.”
Wakefield and Schmidt said they’ve received encouraging messages from friends and peers throughout the week telling them not to lose hope and stay positive. Schmidt anxiously watched the ballots canvass at the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections office in Glen Burnie Friday.
“I kind of knew that it was going to come down to the wire. It’s been very, very nerve-wracking, not just a little nerve-wracking,” Schmidt said. “It’s a numbers game.”
Watching the elections process has been enlightening, he said, and has made him appreciative of the board and all the people who work to ensure every vote is counted.
“I look at the process as the reward versus win, lose or draw,” he said. “Being a first-time candidate has been so rewarding for me and I just look back over these ten, twelve months of just all the relationships that have been built, all the friendships and just want to have the opportunity to carry that forward and represent our district.”
Other races also remain well within the margin of remaining votes including the House of Delegates race for District 12B in which Democrat Gary Simmons leads Republican Ashley Arias by about 1,000 votes and the District 33C race in which Democrat Del. Heather Bagnall leads Republican Kerry Gillespie by around 1,300 votes