Recount in District 12 race could delay official results until next month

With a paper-thin margin of 154 votes, or 0.56 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday’s GOP runoff for the 12th Congressional District, it’s all but certain that second-place finisher Rick W. Allen will request a recount, his campaign officials said.

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Lee Anderson (right) monitors results from the District 12 Republican runoff. He has a 154-vote edge over Rick Allen.  JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
Lee Anderson (right) monitors results from the District 12 Republican runoff. He has a 154-vote edge over Rick Allen.

If so, it could be early September before a winner is declared.

“Given the closeness of the margin, I would assume we probably (will), although ultimately that decision would be Rick’s, and he’s going to sit on it for a while,” said Scott Paradise, Allen’s campaign manager.

Late Tuesday, a campaign consultant for Allen, Chip Lake, informed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Allen would ask for a recount.

Paradise said the recount request might be fueled in part by some “voting anomalies” in Richmond County, including confusion over which ballot – Republican or Democrat – voters could use in the runoff, which led to some being discarded by election officials. “A very vocal number” who had cast Republican ballots in the primary tried Tuesday to switch to Democratic ballots to vote in the runoff between sheriff candidates Richard Roundtree and Scott Peebles, said Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey.

Only those who did not vote in the primary had the option of either ballot Tuesday, and a couple were “inadvertently” handed the wrong one, she said. If they noticed at the voting machine, the ballot was canceled and the voter was issued another one, Bailey said.

Paradise, who lives in Augusta, said he had been issued a Democratic ballot card by mistake by a poll worker and “almost didn’t catch it in time” at the voting machine after inserting the card.

“I almost pressed ‘next’ because I wasn’t thinking about it,” he said.

A federal court order in effect across the district’s 19 counties lends uncertainty to Tuesday’s results. The order, to ensure that military voters have ample opportunity to return runoff ballots from abroad, gives them an extra week to return ballots by mail.
In Richmond County, there are 28 outstanding military absentee Republican ballots yet to be returned or counted, Bailey said. In Columbia County, 78 Republican military ballots are outstanding, Elections Coordinator Jarthurlynn Hosley said.

Under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the total of 139 12th District voters issued Republican absentee ballots have until Aug. 31 for the ballots with an Aug. 21 postmark to reach election offices for counting, according to Jared Thomas, the press secretary for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

The delay means results likely won’t be certified until Sept. 4, after which a candidate with less than a 1 percent margin has two days to request a recount, Thomas said.

As of Tuesday, Allen had outpolled the apparent winner, state Rep. Lee Anderson, both in his home county of Richmond and in Anderson’s home of Columbia County. Anderson remains ahead across the 19-county congressional district, garnering 13,780 votes to Allen’s 13,626 in unofficial totals and placing him in the Nov. 6 contest with incumbent Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta.

Anderson, who has refused media requests for interviews and debate invitations since the primary, claimed the runoff victory Tuesday, asserting in an e-mail that “the Secretary of State’s office informs our campaign that the total number of military votes is too small to affect the outcome of this race.”

Asked to verify Anderson’s claim, Thomas said “ballots are still to be counted, and we will not speculate on the certified outcome of this race.”

The margin between Anderson and Allen is even smaller than the 0.97 percent vote differential that happened between Allen and Wright McLeod, who finished third in the primary and demanded a recount after votes were certified by the Georgia Secretary of State.

That recount garnered McLeod only one additional vote.

A longtime president of Columbia County Farm Bureau, Anderson ran an agriculture-theme campaign, plastering the district’s rural highways months ago with his yellow tractor signs.

Anderson won several of the 12th’s more rural counties, including Appling, Coffee, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Montgomery and Tattnall, while Allen carried Bulloch, Burke, Toombs, Treutlen, Screven and tiny Wheeler, where only nine people voted in the runoff.

At Allen’s runoff watch party Tuesday, campaign workers remarked with some bitterness about weekend television advertising by Anderson they felt powerless to address.

Jonathan Dickerson, Allen’s deputy campaign manager, said even though Anderson on Monday pulled the ad, which said Allen
tried to buy government contracts through political donations to Democrats, it was too late.

“They accused Rick of a felony, threw out a lie at the 11th hour, and we had no time for rebuttal,” Dickerson said.

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resident
440
Points
resident 08/22/12 - 04:34 pm
2
3

Let this be over!!

I have seen mud slinging going on all over the place so quit complaining about it. Rick might have gotten the Columbia County vote but guess what there is more to a district than just the one county which he has many buddies in. You want to try and represent you need to cover all of the areas. Lets get this done so we can move on and have an election contender for the fall. I know where my vote is going so I am ready for whatever the outcome may finally be decided to be.

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 08/22/12 - 06:30 pm
3
0

Tractor color

After reading this article, I was hit by a ton of bricks! Anderson used a yellow tractor on his campaign signs and John Deere (GREEN tractors) has a factory in his home county. Go figure.

avidreader
2606
Points
avidreader 08/22/12 - 06:38 pm
2
1

"I am ready for whatever the

"I am ready for whatever the outcome may finally be decided to be."

What does this mean? I also like Apple Martinis.

Electing a congressman is equivilent to a judge deciding a Brittany Spear's child-custody suit. Either way, you lose.

12thUnderProtest
87
Points
12thUnderProtest 08/22/12 - 10:23 pm
1
2

Good grief.

Look, Lee's camp pointed this out last night, the primary recount requested by Wright McLeod netted the man four votes out of a lot more votes than were cast in the runoff.

You can claim the military ballots are going to change the game, but there aren't enough outstanding to make up the difference, even if every last one was for Allen, and that isn't very likely. Therefore, any fool can see Lee's statement is correct. 139 is not greater than 154.

Lee needs to go on about his business of running his campaign for the November election. Even if the state and national Republicans won't get behind him until early September, he needs to step up his game now. Those of us who are real Republicans in the District are behind him all the way.

allhans
21936
Points
allhans 08/23/12 - 01:05 am
3
1

I thought that run-offs were

I thought that run-offs were limited to those voters who voted in the primary. I never knew that you could vote in the run-off when you hadn't participated in the actual election. Just doesn't sound right to me. I can't change from one ballot to the other but a person who hasn't voted at all is issued whichever ballot he chooses.

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 08/23/12 - 06:58 am
0
1

Confusion and manipulated voting by design

Unpublished

What a third world country should be. Free and open elections. Just for some and just for some dates.

BillH
9
Points
BillH 08/23/12 - 09:08 am
1
0

Real Republicans

I don't know what a "real Republican" is but I know Anderson won't beat Barrow. Allen could have done it but Anderson can't speak effectively and John will eat him up in a debate. Lee wouldn't debate Rick and won't even respond to Chronicle reporters. We're mired in good ole boy politics again.
I thought Columbia County conservatives would have learned a lesson from cramming Whitehead down everyone's throats last time just because it was "his turn". Now Anderson is backed, mostly for his years in the legislature. Well, Washington is the big game and he's not ready to play there.
Columbia County should be the GOP powerhouse of eastern Georgia but it will never achieve that goal as long as it practices parochial politics instead of recognizing the best candidate for the job. It was nice to see Clay endorse Lee but will he also take credit for getting Barrow reelected in November? Has anyone noticed that Anderson attended two obscure colleges and failed to graduate from either. Did you select the sharpest knife in the drawer or the knife sharpener?

Petaltothemetal
28
Points
Petaltothemetal 08/23/12 - 09:35 am
0
2

Any which way

Allen has tried to pay his way into politics, it didn't work. Is fraud the next step? Whatever it takes I guess.

Petaltothemetal
28
Points
Petaltothemetal 08/23/12 - 09:47 am
0
2

Notice to Real Republicans

Former Mayor Bob Young officiated the primary's last debate with Allen and Anderson. Then during the runoff, Bob Young endorsed Allen. Why would anyone want to participate in another debate if it could be bias. Real Republicans, like Anderson, stick to their values as conservative leaders, not wealthy businessmen looking to pay their way in. Anderson will get the job done, he'll send Barrow home. And it will not take smooth words to do it. Did you vote for Obama as an orator? I hope not. Write that down.

NoToBarrow
28
Points
NoToBarrow 08/23/12 - 10:25 am
0
2

Just give up!

Just give up Rick! We need to move forward so that we can beat John Barrow. You lost and it was fair and square. Get over yourself. These results are not going to change the winner. Lee Anderson WON!

nanowerx
1250
Points
nanowerx 08/23/12 - 11:00 am
1
1

So many sheep in the GOP

I am conservative so Why would I support Anderson? He has voted for tax increases and funnels his campaign contributions to his political friends, plus he was a huge advocate for TSPLOST. I know modern republicans have forgotten what "conservative" means, but it sure doesn't mean more taxes and spending...which is exactly what Anderson supports.

I am registered republican and I refuse to vote for Anderson. He will e slaughtered in debates by Barrow anyway....he doesn't have a chance. I hope Barrow wins so that the GOP will hopefully have a better contender in 2 years.

wise ole man
79
Points
wise ole man 08/23/12 - 11:33 am
1
2

If the republican party wants

If the republican party wants to win in November then they have to support the candidate that won the run-off no matter which one won. There have been plenty of congressmen who never attended college but represented their constituents very well. Either you vote for Lee in order to change the mess we are in or you vote to continue the downhill spiral we are taking as a country. The longer Barrow and those like him are allowed to remain in office the harder it will be for America and the hardworking citizens to recover.

slowpitch
119
Points
slowpitch 08/23/12 - 12:01 pm
0
1

"They accused Rick of a felony, threw out a lie at the 11th hour

"They accused Rick of a felony, threw out a lie at the 11th hour..."

Reap what you sow, Rick Allen!

slowpitch
119
Points
slowpitch 08/23/12 - 12:18 pm
1
0

agreed allhans

It does seem weird non voters would be able to participate in their choice of party's runoff, but ppl who did vote are locked.

Is it ever possible GA would let cities decide to have nonpartisan municipal officials?

Little Lamb
40104
Points
Little Lamb 08/23/12 - 12:48 pm
0
0

@ slowpitch

Augusta has non-partisan municipal officials. The mayor and all ten commissioners are elected in non-partisan elections. Some will be on the ballot this November.

slowpitch
119
Points
slowpitch 08/28/12 - 12:26 pm
0
0

thanks, LL

moved from Iowa and I'm still learning how GA elections work.

It seems very suitable to have nonpartisan mayor and commissioner races, why not the sheriff as well? Is that something the county could change or would it take a act by the GA legislature?

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