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Ortiz Recount Request Granted; Etheridge Race Moves to Recount

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Bob Etheridge is going to pursue a recount, which he is allowed to request under North Carolina law because he trails by a margin of less than 1 percent.

The Texas Secretary of State’s elections division approved Rep. Solomon Ortiz’s revised recount request on Friday afternoon, according to secretary of state spokesman Randall Dillard.elmer

The six counties he has asked to be recounted will have until Nov. 19 to start the recount process. Ortiz currently trails Republican challenger Blake Farenthold by fewer than 800 votes.

Ortiz’s original request was rejected on Wednesday when Director of Elections Ann McGeehan noted that the Congressman couldn’t ask only for certain precincts, and not entire counties, to be recounted and that he failed to specify whether he wanted a manual or electronic recount. If Ortiz wanted all of the six counties recounted, the cost of the process would also rise, she wrote in her letter.

So Ortiz promptly submitted a revised request and a check for the remainder of the cost, which now totals $23,500. The six counties in the district have seven days (including the weekend) to get the recount process under way.

The race in Texas’ 27th district is one of seven House races that are still undecided following the Nov. 2 elections.

Also on Friday, North Carolina county elections boards certified the results of the canvassing process in the 2nd district. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) reaffirmed that he will pursue the recount that is allowed under state law. Etheridge trails Republican Renee Ellmers by 1,489 votes, which is less than 1 percent of the total votes cast.

A statement from Etheridge’s campaign on Friday noted that between Election Day and the end of the canvassing process, the Congressman had closed the margin with Elmers by more than 600 votes.
 
“Unless voters are assured that the results of the election are accurate then they’ll never be sure that the people’s voice was heard or that the result is valid,” Etheridge said in the statement. “As more votes were counted over the last week, it became increasingly clear that this race is too close to call and a recount is warranted.”

Ellmers, meanwhile, posted a statement on her campaign website that said she remains confident of victory and that she is moving forward with preparations to take office in January. Ellmers is one of several candidates in undecided or disputed races who are coming to Capitol Hill next week for freshman orientation. 

“We have not found anywhere in North Carolina history that a lead this large has ever been overturned as a result of a recount,” Ellmers said. “At this point our only concern over the prospect of a recount is the cost to the taxpayers of North Carolina.”

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