Ballots in Indiana’s Sodrel-Hill Race to Be Recounted Nov. 29
The Indiana Recount Commission decided Tuesday to go forward with a recount in the 9th district race, which Rep. Baron Hill (D) lost to Republican Mike Sodrel by 1,485 votes. The board ruled that the recount of votes will begin on Nov. 29.
The Indiana Democratic Party requested a recount in the 9th late last week, after a problem with the optical-scan voting systems used by some counties in the district was discovered elsewhere in the state. The voting machines in Franklin County counted straight-ticket Democratic votes as Libertarian votes.
Three counties in the 9th used the same machines, which were provided by Illinois-based Fildar Elections Co. The company and state elections officials have said that the defect appears to be limited only to the machines in Franklin.
Of the three counties in question, Hill won two and lost the third by 2,682 votes in unofficial results.
Hill conceded to Sodrel on Nov. 3, and the Congressman-elect is on Capitol Hill this week for freshman Member orientation.
— Lauren W. Whittington
Gibbons Will Reveal Plans After Holidays
Rep. Jim Gibbons (R) has not ruled out the possibility of seeking the governorship of the Silver State in 2006 but says he will wait until after the new year to make his decision.
Sen. John Ensign (R) closed the door to a possible 2006 gubernatorial run earlier this month and will focus instead on seeking a second term, The Associated Press recently reported.
Gibbons, egged on by White House senior adviser Karl Rove, flirted with the idea of challenging Sen. Harry Reid (D) this year but opted out of the race last fall.
Republicans hope to hold the governor’s seat, which will be open in 2006, as Gov. Kenny Guinn (R) is barred from seeking a third term.
— Nicole Duran
Ballots Still Being Tallied in Race to Replace Quinn
It appears as if it will still be several days before an official winner is declared in the race to replace retiring Rep. Jack Quinn (R) in the Buffalo-based 27th district.
Election officials in the district’s two counties began hand-counting 13,000 absentee and provisional ballots on Monday, WGRZ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Buffalo, has reported, with lawyers for the two candidates, state Assemblyman Brian Higgins (D) and Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples (R), observing.
Higgins is clinging to a 3,100-vote lead over Naples, and even some Republicans privately concede that he is likely to prevail. But approximately 4,000 of the ballots being counted by hand are from conservative Chautauqua County, giving the GOP a glimmer of hope.
“The trend [in the ballot counting] is sort of interesting,” Naples’ lawyer, Brad Stamm, told the TV station.
Higgins’ camp remained confident, and an election commissioner in Erie County, where provisional ballots are also being counted, suggested that the Democrat would wind up the victor.
“I would certainly rather be 3,100 votes ahead than behind,” Commissioner Larry Adamczyk said.
— Josh Kurtz
Kuhl Wastes No Time Raising Money in D.C.
He won’t take office until January 2005, but Rep.-elect Randy Kuhl (R) is hosting a debt retirement fundraiser in Washington, D.C., this afternoon.
The event will be held at the Capitol Hill offices of the American Trucking Association.
Kuhl, a state legislator for two decades, defeated Democratic operative Samara Barend by almost 10 points in the race to replace retiring Rep. Amo Houghton (R) in New York’s Southern Tier.