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Harris to face Mason in 1st District race

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CHESTERTOWN — It appears U.S. Rep. Andy Harris will face off against challenger Mia Mason in November’s general election.

All the votes cast in Queen Anne’s County for this year’s primary have been counted and while the election certification date has passed, the results have not been finalized by the state.

According to the unofficial results, as of Tuesday evening, June 22 — Harris, R-Md.-1st, leads the GOP congressional primary with 72,265 votes to challenger Jorge Delgado’s 16,281.

“I take pretty good care of the district — that’s why when it comes down to election time, I don’t worry as much as other people might,” Harris said June 2 as votes were being tallied.

While Allison Galbraith of Abingdon held the lead on the Democratic congressional ballot after primary night June 2, Frederick resident Mia Mason has taken over in the race to challenge Harris. Mason currently has 25,722 votes to Galbraith’s 22,386. Coming in last for the Democrats is Jennifer Pingley of Elkton with 12,040.

In an interview June 2, Mason said she thinks she has a strong potential to unseat Harris, saying the district will be able to offer Democrats “a home and shelter to stay for the next decade.”

“Depending on how this pandemic turns out, we’re definitely looking forward to reaching out to voters and getting to know them more personally, especially our Republicans because what has happened across our nation has hurt so many of us, including those on the other side of the aisle. This is a time to bond together more,” Mason said.

Mason, who spent 20 years in the military according to her website, does not live in the 1st District. A candidate need only reside in the state in which he or she seeks office. In 2014, Republican Dan Bongino ran for the 6th District though he did not live in it, nor did the Democratic incumbent John Delany.

Galbraith withdrew from the race in April, citing burnout and the pandemic’s disruption of the race. She threw her support behind Pingley as the primary neared.

President Donald Trump currently has a total of 292,437 in Maryland’s Republican primary. For the Democrats, former Vice President Joe Biden leads the state with 854,193 votes.

Republican challenger Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, has 43,269 votes in the primary, despite having suspended his campaign.

Biden is the presumptive nominee for the Democrats. His fellow Democratic challengers bowed out of the race before Maryland’s primary.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stands in second place in the Democratic primary with 78,104 votes, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 25,529. No other Democratic presidential candidate tallied a five-figure total, while there were 23,428 uncommitted votes.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s primary was handled primarily by mail. Limited in person voting was available in Queen Anne’s only at the Board of Elections on Vincit Street in Centreville.

As evidenced by the fact that the primary results were scheduled to be certified on June 12, there have been issues with the election.

Gov. Larry Hogan spoke about what he called, “significant failures” from the Maryland State Board of Elections, during a June 3 news conference.

He said thousands of Marylanders did not receive ballots at all, or received erroneous or late ballots that were determined to be unacceptable.

Hogan called for a report on the primary to be submitted by the Maryland State Board of Elections by July 3. He said he also would be asking the General Assembly to begin oversight hearings to ensure that the November election is free from failures.

The League of Women Voters of Maryland also raised concerns, calling for Hogan and election administrators “to take the necessary steps to prevent the same issues from recurring in November and maintain voters’ confidence in our democratic system.”

“Planning for the November general election needs to start immediately, and resources must be allocated to do it right,” the League of Women Voters said in a news release issued June 9.

The League of Women Voters wants to see the general election conducted by mail. The league is calling for improved ballot delivery and a chance for voters to correct an issue if discrepancies are found with their ballots, among other suggested actions.

“No voter should be disenfranchised by a problem-ridden election. By implementing these changes, Maryland officials can re-establish voters’ confidence in our electoral system,” the League of Women Voters stated.

Additional reporting by Candice Spector, Mike Detmer and William Carroll.

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