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Coin Flips To Decide Two Ada County Primary Races

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Nearly every election includes some razor-thin margins, and Idaho's 2016 primary was no exception. The tightest race this season was the District 9 Senate GOP primary: Out of more than 5,800 votes cast, incumbent Idaho State Sen. Abby Lee (R-Fruitland) finished the night 28 votes ahead. Lee ran with the support of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.Lee survived a close challenge from Republican challenger Viki Purdy of New Meadows, and Idaho House Rep. Don Cheatham (R-Post Falls) squeaked by with a 64-vote advantage over Idaho House Rep. Don Cheatham.

Idaho law only requires a recount if the margin is five votes or less or one-tenth of one percent of the total vote. Purdy or Cheatham can call for a recount, for a $100-per-precinct fee. In the case of tie, however, a coin flip decides the winner and in Ada County, election officials will flip a coin twice on Monday, May 23.

In Ada County precinct 2006, the Republican race between Mark S. Johnson and Peggy Moyer ended in a 113-113 draw; in precinct 2009, Kyle Key and Rosemary DeMond are tied at 75 votes each, so at 2 p.m. Monday at the Ada County Courthouse, Ada County Clerk Chris Rich will flip a coin to determine the winners (the process is open to the public). The last time a coin flip determined an election winner was in 2012.