Rematch: Ball and Kittleman to Face Off in Howard Executive Race

In a repeat of 2018, early vote totals point to a rematch between current County Executive Calvin Ball and former County Executive Allan Kittleman. 

Incumbent County Executive Calvin Ball is set to once again face former County Executive Allan Kittleman in November. Unlike their deep blue neighbor to the southwest, Howard County is a deeply purple bellwether jurisdiction. This will be a race to watch, and will undoubtedly be impacted by outside political events.

As of 9:30 AM on July 20, incumbent Calvin Ball received nearly 87 percent of the Democratic primary vote; while Allan Kittleman received nearly 95 percent of the Republican primary vote. With these margins, it would be nearly impossible for any of the other candidates to make up significant ground from the mail-in totals.

Before being elected County Executive in 2018, Calvin Ball served three terms on the Howard County Council. Much of the Ball administration has been focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, distributing vital funds to residents and businesses, standing up testing facilities, and implementing vaccine distribution plans. As of May 2021, Howard County led the state in the percentage of the eligible population who are fully vaccinated.

Former County Executive Allan Kittleman also comes with a long background in public service. While serving as County Executive, he made it a priority to act on many challenges that had been neglected for years, including purchasing and preserving the Harriet Tubman School, the last segregated school in Howard County.  Prior to his time as County Executive, Kittleman also served as a member of the Howard County Council, and in the Maryland State Senate.

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Please note that vote counts are incomplete. Election officials still have to count mail-in and provisional ballots. For context, more than 500,000 Marylanders requested a mail-in ballot for this year’s primary, and those remaining votes are likely to be material to many contested races. However, local boards of elections cannot begin to canvass mail-in votes until Thursday, July 21.  For editorial purposes, MACo coverage will describe any races where the top runner-up remains within 10 percent of the apparent winner(s) as “pending” and those results as “apparent.”

MACo’s election coverage and analysis relies on unofficial results published by the State Board of Elections. Official results will follow after a full accounting of pending votes. Given delays in processing an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots, MACo advises readers that any close unofficial results are subject to realignment in the days ahead.

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