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Annapolis Mayoral Race Too Close To Call

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Early voting in Ohio (Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Early voting in Ohio (Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — An unexpected showdown in the Annapolis mayor’s race. The vote is too close to call.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains there’s been a crack in the dam between Democrats and Republicans.

Marylanders consider Annapolis an idyllic spot where all the political drama takes place in the State House, not local households.

“Most of the time, we tend to take an attitude that says we can’t really affect anything that happens here,” said Michelle Aellen.

But Annapolis residents are divided almost evenly between the Democrat incumbent Josh Cohen and the Republican challenger Mike Pantelides in the race for mayor, a race too close to call. Absentee ballots will be counted Thursday.

Aellen owns a business there.

“A lot of people tend to just vote party lines. You’re not really voting issues then so you’re kind of cutting yourself short,” Aellen said.

But the issues are driving this race in the 2-1 Democratic city that gave an 84 vote lead to the Republican over water bills.

“We had a huge number of cross-over Democratic votes, Republicans, Independents. Water bills affect everybody and the fact that it doubled hurt everybody adversely,” Pantelides said.

Mayor Cohen told WJZ last week that renovations to City Dock have also stirred controversy, particularly plans to eliminate dockside parking.

“So people drive, get out of the car and do other things and the car is sitting there, enjoying this beautiful view of the water all day. That’s gotta change,” Cohen said.

In a statement Wednesday, Cohen said, “Regardless of the outcome, I am blessed to have had the opportunity to serve and give back to my hometown as mayor. Public service is truly its own reward.”

The count begins at 9 a.m. Thursday. There are 327 absentee ballots that will determine the outcome of the race.

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