UPDATED: Republican incumbent who lost by 14 votes undecided on seeking recanvass or recount

11/05/2014 06:35 PM

UPDATED: State Rep. Toby Herald, a first-term Republican lawmaker who lost his reelection bid by a razor-thin margin of 14 votes on Tuesday, has not decided whether he will challenge the result.

Herald, of Beattyville, said Wednesday constituents in Breathitt County, the home of his opponent, Democrat Cluster Howard of Jackson, urged him to consider a recanvass or recount after observing vote totals in the lone 91st House District county won by Howard.

“Lots of my constituents has asked me to do that because of the county that he lives in, how they voted and the absentee, so many absentees that he got, which I’ve not checked on any of that,” he said in a phone interview with Pure Politics. “If I see that’s maybe some foul play there or something, I may ask for a recount.”

Herald carried Estill County by 806 votes, Lee by 814 votes, Owsley by 397 and the small section of Madison County by 167 votes.

But the incumbent, who said he had not conceded the race, lost considerably in Breathitt County, trailing Howard by 2,198 votes.

“As of right now I’m pondering and was looking and hearing and getting some ideas and so forth,” Herald said, declining to speculate on the probability that he challenges Tuesday’s result. “… Maybe tomorrow, maybe next Tuesday. Then again, I may not. You know, I don’t know.”

Howard could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson said Wednesday he will urge Herald, the only GOP House incumbent to lose on Election Day, to seek a recanvass.

Robertson said he’s been in touch with attorneys for the state party on the subject and attempted to reach Herald by phone Wednesday.

“Certainly it would be my recommendation that he do it,” Robertson said in a phone interview with Pure Politics. “… A recanvass is a pretty basic thing. It’s not very often that they show much, if any, change, even though they have before, but yeah, I mean I think that certainly my advice is going to be why not do it? It’s just a retabulation of the math.”

He added, “With a 14-vote margin, there’s no harm, no foul in checking for a recanvass.”

Herald’s defeat in the 91st House District allowed House Democrats to retain a 54-46 majority in the chamber.

Recanvass requests must be submitted by 4 p.m. on the Tuesday after the election, and recount requests must be completed within 10 days of the election, per state law. Should he decide to request a recount, Herald must foot the bill for the process.

Herald must submit his request to the secretary of state.


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