Kratovil not ready to celebrate report of victory

November 08, 2008|By Sara Neufeld and Matthew Hay Brown | Sara Neufeld and Matthew Hay Brown,

Democrat Frank M. Kratovil Jr. was "encouraged" by the Associated Press' decision yesterday to call the closely fought 1st Congressional District race in his favor but said it was not yet time to celebrate.

"I am honored and humbled by the support I've received in this election and am clearly encouraged by where the numbers stand and the subsequent Associated Press announcement," he said in a statement. "Right now, my top priority is making sure that every vote is counted and every voice is heard."

A spokesman for Republican Andy Harris said the candidate was not ready to concede the race.

"With over 10,000 ballots outstanding, including many from military, regular absentee and provisionals, we were going to wait and look at the numbers," Harris campaign manager Chris Meekins said.

With all the absentee ballots received so far now counted, Kratovil leads Harris by 2,003 votes.

On Monday, election judges are scheduled to begin counting about 4,800 provisional ballots. More absentee ballots, such as those from Marylanders living overseas, could still trickle in over the next week. They must have been postmarked by Election Day to be counted.

Associated Press editors called the race for Kratovil yesterday after local boards of elections in 12 counties tabulated results from more than 25,000 absentee ballots. While a second round of the mailed ballots will be counted Friday, the volume of that batch is expected to be much smaller.

Of the 4,826 provisional ballots, many are likely to be ruled invalid after a recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision that limited the conditions under which such votes may be recorded. And just 1,800 of the provisional ballots are from Baltimore, Anne Arundel or Harford counties, the only counties in which Harris outpolled Kratovil.

Baltimore Sun reporters David Nitkin and Laura Smitherman contributed to this article.

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