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Harrison Appears to be District 5 Winner

Anne Bartlett

Andrea Harrison, a former Prince George's County Council staffer, appears to have won a Democratic primary to fill a vacant seat on the council Tuesday.

With all 25 polling places reporting, Harrison was ahead by 137 votes, about 4.3 percent, in a crowded field of seven Democrats vying for their party's nomination in the central county district. Edmonston Mayor Adam Ortiz had been running a close second as votes were counted Tuesday night.

According to Prince George's election administrator Alisha Alexander, about 60 absentee ballots and an unknown number of provisional votes remain to be counted. That will happen Thursday morning.

The winner of the primary will face Republican Steven W. Johnson in a May 6 general election for the seat in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

The seat had been open since former council member David C. Harrington (D) was elevated to the state senate in February, following the death of state Sen. Gwendolyn T. Britt.

Harrison, who used to work in Harrigton's council office, received his endorsement, as well as the support of the district's other state senator, Nathaniel Exum (D).

Ortiz ran for the seat with the support of several county unions, including associations representing public safety workers and locals for the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
He campaigned on his record as mayor of the tiny working class community of Edmonston and also pledged to bring a new spirit of transparency to county government, offering frequent critiques of the leadership of County Executive Jack B. Johnson.

Harrison, meanwhile, promised voters she would continue Harrington's efforts to reach out to the community.

There was low turnout for the special election in the district, which stretches from the District's northeast border through Cheverly and into Mitchellville.

Other candidates included community activist Theresa Dudley, a middle school teacher and Adrion J. Howell, who once served as an aide to County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and who ran with the support former Rep. Kweisi Mfume.

By Anne Bartlett  |  April 2, 2008; 9:31 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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