- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Former Charles County Commissioner Sam Graves knew immediately after he lost his 2010 primary by a tight margin that he wanted a rematch with current Commissioner Ken Robinson in the 2014 election.
But after coming up short in similar fashion, Graves this week conceded the Democratic nomination in District 1 to Robinson (D) and admitted he doesn’t feel the same fire to run again in 2018.
Even so, “I’m not shutting any doors,” Graves said.
Following a second and final canvass of absentee ballots Monday by the Charles County Board of Elections that left Graves trailing Robinson by 61 votes, Graves said he would not petition for a recount or run as a write-in candidate in the Nov. 4 general election.
“I have all the faith in the board of elections and their ability to run a clean and fair election,” he said. “I am going to move on with my life, and I will continue to keep serving my community through all the nonprofit work I have been doing for the last 15 to 20 years.”
Robinson emerged from the June 26 primary with a thin 85-vote lead against Graves, but the first absentee canvass June 26 slashed the margin to 61 votes. Robinson gained back a vote in the July 2 count of provisional ballots, but Graves took it right back in Monday’s count.
A U.S. Army veteran and former Charles County sheriff’s officer, Graves served as District 1 commissioner from 2006 to 2010. He lost his 2010 primary to Robinson by 162 votes, 1.4 percent of those cast in the race.
Well-liked and respected in the community, Graves currently is a school bus driver, Charles County Fair Board member, president of the local Christmas in April and a board member of Charles County Freedom Landing. A half-dozen supporters came up to greet and wish him well during the course of an hour-long interview Tuesday at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in La Plata.
“I’d like to thank my family, my campaign and my thousands of supporters and well wishers for the support they’ve given me over the years,” Graves said. “I wish the winners in November all the best and hope and pray that they stay focused on the wishes and needs of the citizens of Charles County.”
The Charles County Board of Elections counted 441 total votes in the District 1 primary during the three canvasses. In total, Robinson finished the race with 7,289 total votes, or 50.2 percent of those cast, while Graves received 7,228 votes, or 49.8 percent.
After sweating it out primary night, Robinson remained confident throughout the canvassing process that his victory would stand.
“I pretty much felt despite its closeness that I had won on primary night because statistically speaking, it would have been highly unlikely, albeit not impossible with the lead I had on election night, for Mr. Graves to beat me,” Robinson said. “Our race made it quite clear that every vote counted, so I’m very appreciative of the tremendous support that I had and have, and I felt the race run between myself and Mr. Graves was very civil. We disagreed on the issues, and I think we kept it to the issues, and it never became personal, and I thank him for his service to the county.”
Robinson will face Newburg businessman Charles Lollar in the general election.
Fresh off a third-place finish in the three-way Republican primary for governor, Lollar was nominated Monday by the Charles County Republican Central Committee after J.T. Crawford, who emerged from the primary as the district’s lone Republican candidate, dropped out of the race for personal reasons.