Sauerbrey trails by 3,019 votes, weighs challenges Glendening lead grows as tally nears end ELECTION 1994

November 13, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Frank Langfitt and Michael James contributed to this article.

On the fifth day of counting votes, the race for Maryland governor remained unsettled yesterday, but the trickle of new numbers continued to favor Democrat Parris N. Glendening.

Mr. Glendening, the Prince George's County executive, received boost when absentee ballots were counted in his home county, pushing his unofficial lead over Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey to 3,019 votes, with about 16,000 still to be counted.

The only two jurisdictions still to report are Montgomery County, a Glendening stronghold, and Baltimore County, which Mrs. Sauerbrey carried comfortably on Election Day.

"We feel great," said Emily Smith, Mr. Glendening's campaign manager.

"We're estimating very conservatively in Montgomery and Baltimore County and we're still feeling very good."

If the absentee votes in those counties run similar to the results of last Tuesday, Mr. Glendening would finish ahead. Officials in the two counties were expected to continue work today.

While the effort should be completed in Montgomery by this evening, the tallying may drag on for another day or two in Baltimore County, officials said.

Mr. Glendening, who has been confidently predicting victory since Wednesday, was in Ocean City yesterday with his family, according to Ms. Smith.

Mrs. Sauerbrey spent some of the day at her Cockeysville headquarters, meeting with staff and attorneys and explaining in television interviews that the race was still not over despite her apparent failure to overtake Mr. Glendening.

"We're not conceding the numbers yet," said Carol L. Hirschburg, Mrs. Sauerbrey's spokeswoman.

The Sauerbrey campaign continues to investigate reports of voting irregularities and is considering legal challenges to the whole process, Ms. Hirschburg said.

Election officials will spend the week week reviewing the Tuesday returns from polling places across the state. Only when they've finished will they certify official results, which is expected to happen Friday.

Ms. Hirschburg noted that in Charles and Dorchester counties, where Tuesday's results already have been reviewed, Mrs. Sauerbrey picked up about 200 votes from the initial count. Those numbers could not be verified yesterday with state elections officials.

Election officials in Prince George's County worked through the night and finished their count of absentee votes at about 5 a.m. yesterday.

Mr. Glendening won 57 percent of the 3,956 votes cast. That was significantly below his Election Day performance, when he won 69 percent of his county's votes.

After three days of bickering over the propriety of absentee ballots, the Prince George's board voted to accept 330 absentee ballots that did not have an accompanying application with a signed affidavit, something required by law but often skipped by local election offices.

Of 183 other ballots challenged for various reasons by one of the candidates, the board rejected only 20, according to Erik Nyce, the board's attorney.

Meanwhile, Sauerbrey campaign representatives completed their needle-in-a-haystack search for forged signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in Montgomery County. Although the campaign acknowledged there was no evidence of fraud, election officials spent two days comparing signatures on 7,900 ballot envelopes with the corresponding applications at Republicans' request.

County Election Administrator Carol S. Evans said the search resulted in the rejection of only four more ballots than election officials would have thrown out under their normal review process. Mr. Glendening won the county vote Tuesday by 58 percent to Mrs. Sauerbrey's 42 percent.

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