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More than 40,000 mail-in ballots left to count in Anne Arundel County, races 'too close to call'

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Democratic incumbent Steuart Pittman is running against Republican council member Jessica Haire to become Anne Arundel County’s top executive.

Most races during the Maryland midterm election already have winners but Anne Arundel County is one of the few jurisdictions with a sizable population that won’t start canvassing mail-in ballots until Nov. 10, delaying results for three key races in the region. The tightly contested county executive race and two state house races in Anne Arundel County remained too close to call on Tuesday night and even Wednesday morning. Officials said they won’t begin counting more than 40,000 mail-in ballots until Thursday.

In the county executive race, Republican County Council member Jessica Haire held a nearly 11,000 vote lead over incumbent Democrat Steuart Pittman, according to Maryland State Board of Elections data.

In the state senate District 33 race, Democrat Dawn Gile trailed two-term Republican Del. Sid Saab by less than 2,000 votes in the race for an open Senate seat that has long been held by the GOP.

And Del. Heather Bagnall, a Democrat who broke through the red wall to win a House seat in that district four years ago was a little more than 1,000 votes behind Republican Keith Gillespie.

County executive Pittman said he was confident of the outcome, despite the lead Haire holds after in person voting.

“We know what happened in early voting, and we know what happened in mail-in,” he said. “And so, we're in a very good place.”

Pittman had a 3,000-vote lead after early voting and mail-in voters tend to be heavily Democratic.

He denied predictions of a red wave, at least in Anne Arundel.

“I don't I think that there's a red wave or there's a blue wave,” he said. “There's a wave of people who just really locally want to make sure that that we keep government operating well, and support the local institutions of government, police and fire and our schools and education and our infrastructure.”

Haire, who worked polling places throughout the county Tuesday, called the feedback from voters “awesome.”

“I mean, people keep coming out, thumbs up, can't wait, voting for change,” she said. “They are so excited.”

She discounted a recent Annapolis Capital poll that showed Pittman with an eight-point lead.

“I don't have the cross tabs to the poll, but I can tell you from looking at it, they largely over-sampled one party, which is not reflective of how the voters are here in the county,” she said.

It was not clear how many days it would take to process 40,000 mail-in ballots in Anne Arundel County after officials begin on Thursday.

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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