With Ballots Straggling In, Recount Likely in NE Iowa Senate Race

By Steve Gravelle, Reporter


By Liz Blood

WINNESHIEK CO., Iowa - The results from Tuesday's election aren't quite final yet, and one northeast Iowa race looks headed for a recount.

"The number has moved fairly strongly in my favor, but I don’t know what the current margin is," said John Beard, the Democratic candidate in state Senate District 28. "It’s a very, very close race, and we’ll just have to follow it through."

By the Iowa Secretary of State's official returns, Beard trails Republican Mike Breitbach by 43 votes of 29,564 cast. But Beard, of rural Decorah, said absentee ballots are being counted in Winneshiek County, and "the number has moved fairly strongly in my favor."

Efforts to contact Breitbach, of Strawberry Point, weren't successful this afternoon.

Thursday's review by Linn County's special precinct board added about 610 votes - provisional and absentee ballots - to Tuesday's final returns. Absentee ballots received by 5 p.m. Tuesday will become official with Wednesday morning's official canvass.

The review added 18 votes to Democrat Daniel Lundby's margin in House District 68, now 117 votes over Nick Wagner. Republican Quentin Stanerson's margin over Kristin Keast dropped 9 votes to 53.

Overall, "I think we had a pretty good election," said Chad Olsen, spokesman for Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

Olsen said no one has filed for a recount, although he wouldn't be surprised to see requests filed next week in the Breitbach-Beard race and in a Polk County House district. County auditors have until Dec. 2 to conduct recounts.

All 99 counties will certify their returns next week, forwarding them the Schultz's office for the official statewide canvass, Olsen said.

There have been no reports of election or vote fraud.

"Nothing significant so far," said Olsen. "We haven’t receive any serious complaints about anything."

Unlike some states, there's no automatic recount in Iowa. Candidates may request recounts without filing bond if the margin in their race is within 50 votes or 1 percent, whichever is larger. Above that threshold, candidates must post bond for a recount, ranging from $150 for a state House race to $1,000 for a statewide race.

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