BY NAOMI EIDE
Nov. 5: Update: Election winners in the tight races reported in this article were: Republican Maryland gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan, Democratic Washington, DC mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser and Montgomery County Board of Education At-Large candidate Jill Ortman-Fouse.
Bowser’s win means a DC Ward 4 special election must be held to elect her successor.
Nov. 4: Today is Election Day and local voters will decide Washington’s next mayor and Maryland’s next governor.
Both of those races are tight. Maryland and the District are heavily Democratic, but Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has closed the gap between himself and Democrat Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. And, in the District mayoral candidate Democrat Muriel Bowser has stiff opposition from Independent David Catania.
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown in the 2014 Takoma Park Independence Day Parade. Photo by Eric Bond.
Washington voters may attempt to join the ranks of Colorado and Washington State, voting on the legalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The legislation would make it legal for those 21 years of age and older to possess and use no more than 2 ounces of marijuana and allow for the limited growth of marijuana.
Bowser win would trigger special election
If Bowser wins, the Washington City Council will have a vacancy for the Ward 4 seat and would hold a special election sometime in April, according to Denise Tolliver, a public information officer for the District of Columbia Board of Elections.
If past Ward 4 special elections or At-Large elections for seats on the council are any indication, competition will be stiff, Tolliver said.
DC councilmember Muriel Bowser and DC mayor Vincent Gray at opening of Triangle Park renovations, Takoma, DC, June 2013. Photo by Bill Brown.
In 2007, Bowser beat out 18 other candidates for the Ward 4 seat with 40 percent of the vote, taking Adrian Fenty’s place on the council after he was elected Washington’s mayor.
If Bowser loses the mayoral race, she will maintain her Ward 4 council seat until 2016 when she is up for reelection.
Residents voting in Washington neighborhood of Takoma, part of D.C. Ward 4, will vote for Washington’s next mayor, At-Large member of the Council, Council Chair and delegate to the U.S. House of Representative.
Takoma Park and Silver Spring residents will vote on races from US Congress to county school board.
Most contests were essentially decided in last summer’s Democratic primary election. Some Democratic candidates are running unopposed. Races in Maryland District 20, which includes Takoma Park and Silver Spring have no Republican contenders. Green Party candidate Dan Robinson is the only one opposing three Democratic candidates – Sheila Hixon, David Moon and Will Smith – for three District 20 House of Delegates seats.
Many will be watching the Montgomery County School Board at-large race between Shebra Evans and Jill Ortman-Fouse. Evans has the coveted Montgomery County Education Association endorsement, but Ortman-Fouse has built strong grass-roots support.
Incumbent Montgomery County At-Large councilmembers Mark Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Hans Reimer – all Democrats – are challenged by four Republicans: Roberty Dyer, Chris Fiotes, Jr., Adol Owen-Williams, II and Shelly Skolnick, and Green Party candidate Tim Willard. The incumbents are expected to win.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen has represented Maryland’s US Congressional District 8 since 2003. He is expected to defeat his challenger, Republican candidate David Wallace.
Tom Hucker, Democratic candidate for Montgomery County’s District 5 is running unopposed.
The polls in both DC and Maryland open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Maryland voters can find their polling place using the Maryland State Board of Elections look-up tool. Maryland voters must post mark or deliver absentee ballots to the local board of elections by 8 p.m.
Washington voters can find local polling places using the District of Columbia Board of Elections website. Washington, DC voters must postmark, electronically transmit or hand deliver all absentee ballots by 8 p.m.
A Washington, DC sample ballot is at this link.
A Montgomery County, Maryland sample ballot is at this link.