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Absentee ballots to decide GOP nominee for comptroller

September 17, 1998

The close race for Republican nominee for state comptroller remained undetermined Wednesday with about 20,000 absentee ballots uncounted. Unofficial results from Tuesday's primary election placed Larry Epstein of Baltimore County 295 votes in front of Washington County native Timothy Mayberry.

Both received 23 percent of the vote from the state's 1,662 precincts. Epstein had 41,363 votes and Mayberry had 41,068.Prince George County Republican Chairman Michael Steele received 36,853 and Anne Arundel County official Ardath Cade, 31,279.

The Republican nominee will face former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who won the Democratic nomination with 225,766 votes.

The absentee ballots will be counted today beginning at 10 a.m., according to Donna Duncan, election management division director for the State Administration Board of Elections in Annapolis. Each local election office will count its own ballots, she said.

Duncan said official results will not be ready until next month.

"It won't be until after Sept. 30 that everything's signed and sealed," she said.

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"This is political hell," said Mayberry.

"Nobody wants to lose and you always want to have a big number so you don't have to go through this, but I'm still optimistic," he said.

Mayberry said he feels the absentee votes will be in his favor.

"They should break for us, being down less than 300 votes. We're biting our nails but hoping for the best," he said.

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