The Idaho Attorney General’s Office has issued a recount order for Nez Perce County in the House 6A state legislative race won Nov. 4 by a razor-thin 26-vote margin by Democratic challenger Dan Rudolph over incumbent GOP Lewiston Rep. Thyra Stevenson. An order sent to Nez Perce County officials requires the recount to begin Tuesday morning, Nov. 25, at the Nez Perce County Courthouse in Lewiston.
Meanwhile, officials at the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office indicated on Wednesday they also expected a recount next week in the Idaho House 6B race, in which Lewiston Democrat and House Minority Leader John Rusche defeated Lewiston Republican challenger Mike Kingsley by 48 votes. But no recount request had been filed by the end of the day Thursday, said Kriss Bivens Cloyd, spokesperson at the office of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.
At the offices of the Idaho Republican Party, Executive Director David Johnston said the GOP is supportive of whatever decision that Kingsley makes for a possible recount.
“As always we’ll continue to evaluate the situation,” Johnston said. “He’ll make the decision and we’ll support him on any decision he makes.”
Johnston said that support would include “verbal and morale support,” for Kingsley and possible financial support after “an evaluation conversation with him,” to “look at the possibility (of financial support)” if Kingsley opts for a recount.
Idaho voting totals were certified Nov. 19 by the three-member state canvassers board. Any recounts would be required within 20 days of vote certification, under Idaho state law, according to Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa.
State legislative District 6 encompasses Nez Perce and Lewis counties, but the ordered 6A recount includes Nez Perce County solely – won 5,836 to 5,395 by Rudolph. Stevenson took the majority of votes in Lewis County – 809 to 394.
Kingsley gained 775 votes in Lewis County while 426 voters there cast ballots in favor of Rusche, a fifth-term legislator who won Nez Perce County 5,828 to 5,431.
Stevenson, a freshman state representative, filed with the attorney general’s office a signed one-page recount request dated Nov. 18. Idaho charges a $100 per precinct fee for recount expenses, Ysursa said, noting that “deposit” money not needed for expenses would be refunded. For the recount for 33 Nez Perce County precincts, Stevenson paid $3,300 in recount fees to the AG’s office with a check dated Nov. 19.
The Rudolph-Stevenson contest was the closest general election legislative race this year in Idaho.
Despite apparent election night vote-counting technical difficulties in District 6, Ysursa praised the 2014 election process in Idaho.
“It went pretty well, and I’m confident the recount will uphold the results,” said Ysursa, adding that it was expected that Tim Hurst would represent the secretary of state’s office and Mike Gilmore the Idaho AG’s office during the state supervision of a District 6 recount in Nez Perce County next week.
“They hope to go up next week and get this done before Thanksgiving,” Ysursa said.
Ysursa said the state wants to conclude a Nez Perce County recount before the Idaho Legislature’s organizational session the first week in December in preparation for the 2015 legislative session. Traditionally at the organizational session, committee assignments are made and leadership positions, including committee chairmanships and floor leadership jobs, are announced.
Stevenson wrote: “Time is of the essence, and we request the (recount) project be accomplished in an expedited manner, preferable completed on Tues. Nov. 25th, and before Nov. 30.”