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GOP pushing for recounts in two close legislative races

The Idaho Republican Party is encouraging two of its candidates to ask for recounts in elections that they narrowly lost to their Democratic challengers in the Nov. 4 election for legislative seats in north-central Idaho, the Lewiston Tribune reports. Republican state Rep. Thyra Stevenson of Lewiston lost to Democrat Dan Rudolph by 26 votes; in the same legislative district, fellow Republican Mike Kingsley lost to House Minority Leader John Rusche by 48 votes.

Idaho Republican Party Executive Director David Johnston told the Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1pB5XDC) in a story that ran Saturday that the narrow margins in both races warrant a recount. Johnston added that a disk drive failed in Nez Perce County while votes were being counted, resulting in some ballots being hand counted. "We feel both races are too close to call, particularly with the middle-of-the-night hiccup at the county," Johnston said. "It's prudent to do a recount and make sure the results reflect what voters wanted."

Under Idaho law, the races don't qualify for an automatic recount because the margins are greater than 0.1 percent. Instead, the candidates can ask for one if they pay for it. A full recount in Nez Perce County would cost $3,300, or $1,000 per precinct plus absentee ballots. Click below for a full report from the Lewiston Tribune and the Associated Press.

Idaho Republican Party pushes for recount 

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Republican Party is encouraging two of its candidates to ask for recounts in elections that they narrowly lost to their Democratic challengers in the Nov. 4 election.

Republican state Rep. Thyra Stevenson of Lewiston lost to Democrat Dan Rudolph by 26 votes. Meanwhile, in the same legislative district, fellow Republican Mike Kingsley lost to House Minority Leader John Rusche by 48 votes.

Idaho Republican Party's Executive Director David Johnston told the Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1pB5XDC) in a story that ran Saturday that the narrow margins in both races warrant a recount.

Johnston added that a disk drive failed in Nez Perce County while votes were being counted, resulting in some ballots being hand counted.

"We feel both races are too close to call, particularly with the middle-of-the-night hiccup at the county," Johnston said. "It's prudent to do a recount and make sure the results reflect what voters wanted."

Under Idaho law, the races don't qualify for an automatic recount because the margins are greater than 0.1 percent. Instead, the candidates can ask for one if they pay for it.

A full recount in Nez Perce County would cost $3,300, or $1,000 per precinct plus absentee ballots.

Kingsley said Friday that he was waiting on the outcome of Monday's canvassing board where election results will officially certified.

Stevenson was also noncommittal to whether she would request a recount. However, she said that she's leaning toward a recount because of the close margins and Nez Perce' mechanical failure.

"I just have some questions about what the chain of custody was, what the method of duplication was and who observed it," she said. "The margin was so close and there are enough questions, I think it's worthy of a recount."

Candidates have 20 days after Monday to ask for a recount.

Nez Perce County Clerk-Auditor Patty O. Weeks said the county has never done a recount since she became auditor in 1999.

The outcome of the 6th legislative district's races won't do much to threaten Republicans control of the Idaho Legislature. It will simply determine if Idaho Democrats are outnumbered 56 to 14, or 58 to 12.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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