Official tally gives 44th different House nominee CAMPAIGN 1994

September 29, 1994|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Sun Staff Writer

Two weeks after Tuesday's primary election, there's a new winner in the race for the House of Delegates in the 44th District.

Ruth M. Kirk, who trailed by 13 votes in the unofficial tally on Elec- tion Day, defeated John D. Jefferies by 88 votes in the certified count recorded Monday to win the Democratic Party's third and final slot for nomination to the state's lower house.

"I was happy, but I was worried about John," Ms. Kirk said after she learned the official results yesterday.

Mr. Jefferies, however, filed a formal request for a recount.

Barbara E. Jackson, administrator of the city's board of elections, said this was the first turnaround from Election Day results in Baltimore since Mary W. Conaway trailed in unofficial results before winning the 1982 primary race for register of wills.

"This is why we stress to people that until the election is certified what you have is the unofficial count," Ms. Jackson said.

Although the 44th District was the only race in which a new winner emerged, she said, final figures changed in a number of Democratic and Republican contests.

The unofficial count had Mr. Jefferies ahead of Ms. Kirk, 2,838 to 2,825. After absentee ballots were added, the gap was closed to four votes. Ms. Jackson said she could not pinpoint the reason for the error that placed Ms. Kirk in the winner's seat. She surmised that officials working at ballot places may have reported figures incorrectly.

Ms. Kirk said she was disappointed with the performance of elections officials who made errors in the initial tally.

"I was really hurt because people had told me earlier that I was in. But when John won, I accepted it," she said.

In the official count, Elijah H. Cummings received 4,464 votes; newcomer Clarence M. Mitchell IV got 3,212 and Ms. Kirk tallied 3,072. Mr. Jefferies trailed with 2,984 votes.

After losing the seat he's held since 1988, Mr. Jefferies said yesterday that he was confused about the 101-vote swing and as a result asked for the recount at the board of elections.

"I owe this to my supporters," Mr. Jefferies said. "To do anything less would not be respecting all the people who voted for me."

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