Democratic legislative candidates in tight races began declaring victory Thursday evening, as the count of mail-in ballots expanded their leads, putting some districts out of reach for Republicans. And in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, the most competitive U.S. House seat in the state, Rep. David Trone (D) declared victory on Friday.
Among those was state Sen. Katie Fry Hester (D-Howard), who wound up winning a hard-fought race against Del. Reid Novotny (R) by more than 8 points to win a second term. In an email to supporters, Hester said, “We have decisively won the state’s most competitive Senate district again, thanks to your support,” adding that she had “received a gracious call from Del. Novotny to concede the race.”
Similarly, Del. Brian Crosby (D-St. Mary’s) declared victory on Thursday evening, after his 327-vote election night lead over former Del. Deb Rey (R) expanded to almost 900 votes with the first round of mail-in ballot counting on Thursday.
“That is not squeaking through — that is a resounding win,” Crosby tweeted Thursday. “I want to thank this community for getting out to vote on Tuesday and giving me the opportunity to continue my service.”
Crosby and Rey were competing in a rematch — he defeated her four years ago.
In the Hagerstown-based District 2B on Thursday, Del. Brenda Thiam, the first Black woman to serve in the General Assembly as a Republican, was ousted by her Democratic challenger, Brooke Grossman. Grossman led by 34 votes on election night, which expanded to almost 600 votes by Thursday evening.
“From the very beginning I committed to running a campaign that was built on a foundation of community, service, transparency, and honesty. I am glad to see that this message has resonated with the voters of District 2B and I am honored that you have trusted me to represent you in Annapolis!” Grossman wrote on a Facebook post. “I promise to serve in the same spirit of putting people over politics that I ran with in the campaign.”
As ballots are counted throughout the state, leads have changed in other close races.
As of midday Friday, Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) was leading Stacie MacDonald (R) by more than 3,000 votes.
In the House races, Del. Steve Johnson in Harford County’s District 34A was in second place in the two-seat district after initial mail-in ballot counting; he had been running behind former Del. Glen Glass (R) on election night. The result is likely to hold as more mail ballots, which favor Democrats in the county, are counted.
The race in a northern Anne Arundel County district that borders Baltimore City remained tight early Friday. While Republican Ashley Arias had a seven-vote lead over Democrat Gary Simmons on election night, Simmons led by 90 votes after an initial mail-in ballot canvass.
Around midday Friday, Del. Neil Parrott (R), who challenged Trone in the 6th District and led the results on election night, called the two-term congressman to concede the race.
“I want to thank Del. Parrott for his phone call this afternoon conceding the race. My promise to him, and to all of the people of the 6th District, is this: I’ll continue to work across the aisle to deliver results and get things done,” Trone tweeted. “Thank you, Maryland! Let’s get back to work.”
As mail ballots began being counted in the district, Parrott’s election night lead quickly closed, and continued counting of mail ballots favors Trone.
A Parrott campaign statement said that despite the loss, “Delegate Parrott believes that the actions over the last year are a big victory for the people of Western and Central Maryland,” citing a new congressional map that made the district more compact and more competitive for Republicans.
“Now like-minded communities have a real say in who they pick for US Congress and District 6 and across the state,” the campaign said.
Parrott said he was incredibly grateful for the support he received.
“While this wasn’t the outcome we wanted, it isn’t a defeat and it isn’t the end. We unified the Republican Party in western Maryland. We faced an overwhelming spending disadvantage that scared off national Republicans,” he said in a statement. “We fought — and won — in court so that this district is fair and competitive and the people of the sixth district will never be taken for granted again.”