Oglesby Nears Victory In Tight State’s Attorney Race
Shawn J. Soper
BERLIN – While incumbent Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd closed the gap somewhat this week after more absentee ballots were counted on Wednesday, Republican challenger Beau Oglesby appears to have moved closer to his “magic number”.
When the polls closed last Tuesday, it was Oglesby leading Todd by a mere 145 votes and a sense of déjà vu spread across the county electorate closely watching the highly contested campaign. In 2006, in perhaps the closest election in Worcester County history, it was Todd who led Oglesby by a single vote when the polls closed on Election Night. Todd eventually prevailed when all of the absentee, provisional and overseas ballots were counted, but a similar scenario is playing out this week with the candidates switching roles.
On Wednesday, 180 absentee ballots were counted and Todd managed to close the gap, collecting 86 new votes while Oglesby added 75 to his tally. County elections officials were supposed to count 197 absentee ballots, but 17 were rejected for various reasons. For example, 12 were not registered in the county and a handful more were not filed in the appropriate district.
After the batch of absentee ballots were counted on Wednesday, Todd had reduced Oglesby’s lead to just 96, but time, and more importantly, outstanding ballots, appear to be running out on the incumbent.
According to Worcester County Elections Board Supervisor Patti Jackson, roughly 171 ballots remain to be counted, of which 122 are expected to be counted today.
The other 49 outstanding ballots – 14 military ballots and 35 more absentee ballots held back – are expected to be counted on Nov. 22. It’s important to note, the 171 figure is a bit of a moving target because some will likely be rejected and more that were postmarked before the Nov. 2 deadline might trickle in still.
Nonetheless, with an estimated 171 still to count, it appears Oglesby needs just 38 more votes, or about 22 percent more, to win the county state’s attorney race. More simply put, if Todd received 134 of the remaining 171 votes and Oglesby scored 37, the incumbent would win by a single vote.
While the numbers appear to be in Oglesby’s favor, certainly anything can happen and if history teaches one anything about this rivalry, the race is far from over. Oglesby said yesterday he was quietly optimistic with scores of votes still to be counted.
“Compared to four years ago, this is a much better place to be,” he said. “Things look good, but there’s a long way to go and we certainly can’t start celebrating yet.”
Oglesby said the closeness of the race is remarkable, but not surprising given the history between the candidates.
“We’re proud of our campaign and we appreciate the trust at least 50-point-something percent of the county placed in us, and we look forward to proving and demonstrating it was well placed,” he said. “If the counts hold, we’ll look forward to earning the trust of the other 49-point-something percent.”
Todd declined to comment, citing personal reasons.