Race to face Van Hollen still too close to call
Updated 2:38 p.m.
One Maryland congressional contest remained unresolved Wednesday, as the GOP primary to face Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) in the 8th district was too close to call.
With all precincts reporting, businessman Michael Philips led lawyer Bruce Stern by 138 votes -- 4,412 to 4,274. Youth counselor Christine Thron and Bill Thomas, a journalist (and contributor to the Washington Post Magazine), finished third and fourth, respectively.
Marjorie Roher, the public information officer for the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said a total of 1,516 absentee ballots had been requested by 8th district Republicans. As of Wednesday, 839 had been returned, but voters have until 10 a.m. on Sept. 22 to send them back. Of the ballots that have been received already, the majority will be counted Thursday.
Stern is not ready to give up until all the absentee ballots are counted.
In an e-mail Wednesday, Stern explained that his campaign made a special effort to reach out to absentee voters, and so remains hopeful that he can stage a comeback.
"If our targeting campaign was successful, I believe we can make up the current deficiency and win the election," Stern said. "As a result, we have no plan to concede the election until after the counting of the absentee and provisional ballots is completed."
Philips' campaign had also not responded to phone and email queries.
Regardless of the GOP primary winner, Van Hollen will be a prohibitive favorite to win reelection in November. He had a campaign war chest of more than $3 million as of Aug. 25, and President Obama won the 8th District by 49 points in 2008.
September 15, 2010; 1:08 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections , Ben Pershing
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