Cheryl Kagan Wins District 17 Senate Race; Paper-Thin Margins In Delegate Race

Cheryl Kagan won a close and nasty race for State Senate in District 17 Tuesday with 4,335 votes, defeating Del. Luiz Simmons, who had 3,629 votes. The margin of victory was Kagan, 54.43 percent, Simmons 45.57 percent. All results reported by the Maryland Election Board late Tuesday night are unofficial.

The campaign deteriorated in the final weeks into an exchange of negative advertising by the two candidates.

Kagan, a former delegate, lost to Sen. Jennie Forehand by a narrow margin four years ago. This year, Sen. Forehand opted to retire, setting up the contest between Kagan and Simmons.

(Note: Delegate vote totals below updated at 5 a.m. Wednesday.)

Del. Kumar Barve was the clear winner in the six-way contest for three District 17 seats in the House of Delegates, with 5,344 votes, or 25.49 percent. District 17 includes Gaithersburg and Rockville in the heart of Montgomery County.

First-time candidate Andrew Platt was in second place with 4,274 votes, edging past Del. Jim Gilchrist, who had 4,250, for the third seat.

Former Rockville mayor Susan Hoffman appears to have failed to win a seat by a margin of just 113 votes. She had 4,137 votes.

Platt, Gilchrist and Hoffman were locked in a nail-biter all evening, with each pulling about 20 percent of the vote.

The percentages at 5 a.m. are: Platt, 20.39 percent, Gilchrist, 20.27 percent, and Hoffman, 19.73 percent.

It’s not unusual for delegate races in Montgomery County to be decided by 400 votes, or even 300, but 113 votes is almost too close to call, in my opinion. It’s possible that the outcome could be changed by the absentee and provisional ballots, which will not be counted for several weeks. Is there any way to do a recount or an audit on the county’s paperless, high-tech voting system?

The trailing candidates in District 17 were Laurie-Anne Sayles, with 2,227 votes, and George Zamora.

— John Hayden

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