Democratic challenger John Driscoll won – again –over Republican Rep. John Ahern at the end of a hand recount of nearly 76,000 ballots in Spokane’s 6th Legislative District.
After about two days in which teams of election workers watched by party volunteers checked 75,947 ballots, the margin of victory for Driscoll changed from 74 votes to 72 votes.
Both candidates were in Olympia Thursday when the new totals were announced.
Driscoll, who was going through orientation for new lawmakers, said he was relieved.
“I didn’t know how much it was hanging over my head until now,” he said. “But now it’s over.”
Ahern, who celebrated his 74th birthday Thursday, said he considers the defeat just a temporary setback.
“It’s somewhat disappointing, but what the heck, life goes on,” he said, shortly after spotting Driscoll outside the House office building and congratulating him. “If it’s OK with my wife, I’ll run in two years.”