UPDATED: 12:30 p.m. ET, July 21
Originally published July 20
The task of tallying mail-in and absentee ballots in the race for Baltimore State’s Attorney officially got underway on Thursday as all voting precincts have reported their returns.
Defense attorney Ivan Bates was leading incumbent Marilyn Mosby 41% to 32%, according to the Baltimore Sun, with former prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah garnering 27% of the vote.
Political observers suggested the math is not on Mosby’s side and it’s just a matter of time before Bates is projected to win the race.
“It looks as if Ivan Bates has earned enough votes through early voting and election day voting — it’s not guaranteed — but he’s carved himself a path to victory,” Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, told the Sun on Wednesday. “For him to put up the numbers he had with early voting and election day voting, he’s put himself in a good position to win.”
Early returns in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary election for Baltimore State’s Attorney have left the incumbent trailing, but the city’s top prosecutor was still exuding optimism in the latest bit of adversity she’s faced in recent months.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who is running for her third term, has found herself in unfamiliar election territory while down nine percentage points behind defense attorney Ivan Bates. After winning her two previous elections outright, the youngest chief prosecutor in a major U.S. city and Bates are eagerly awaiting tens of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots to be tallied before final results are expected Thursday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, just 60% of the voting precincts had reported their returns, according to the New York Times. Local reporter Paul Gessler tweeted late Tuesday night that nearly 90% of the precincts’ were reporting the same 9% margin Bates was maintaining over Mosby.
Nevertheless, Mosby, 42, expressed vigilant confidence to her supporters at an election night watch party.
Greeting her supporters after hours of watching Bates’ lead grow, Mosby pointed to her past to map out her future, according to reporting from the Baltimore Banner.
“I’m going to fight — the same way I fought to get into this position — until every single vote is counted,” Mosby told her supporters.
With former prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah running in a distant third place, whoever is declared the winner of the primary will advance to the general election in November to face attorney Roya Hanna, an independent candidate who previously ran in the race as a Democrat before changing his political affiliation.
According to the Baltimore Banner, official polling for the race was basically nonexistent, making it unclear if a Mosby loss would truly constitute an upset which, by definition, means “to defeat unexpectedly.”
Mosby won her inaugural election in 2015 by more than 50% of the vote and later beat Baker and Vignarajah by winning 49% of the vote to become Baltimore’s first U.S. attorney to be re-elected in 12 years.
Heading into Tuesday’s primary election, it was unclear how — or if — Mosby’s name recognition would affect voters, whose turnout was down compared to years past, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Mosby is seeking re-election while under the cloud of a federal indictment that accuses her of committing perjury and making false statements on a COVID-19 loan application.
Mosby pleaded not guilty in the case and a trial is scheduled to begin in September.
Primary election voters may be concerned about the uncertain implications of a looming criminal trial that could result in Mosby’s conviction. If Mosby wins the primary and general elections but is convicted, it is unclear what would become of her seat.
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