JEFFERSON CITY — The winning margin in five of this week's Missouri party primary elections appears so narrow that several candidates will be eligible to seek a recount.
Two Democrats appearing to lose narrow races for Congress and the Missouri House plan to do just that, and a southwest Republican state House member said Thursday that asking for a recount is a possibility.
Missouri law allows candidates who lose by less than 1 percent to request a recount. Unofficial election results from Tuesday's election show that there could be recounts in Republican races for secretary of state, state House District 130 in southwestern Missouri and state House District 151 in southeastern Missouri. Recounts in the Democratic primaries would be for the 2nd Congressional District and state House District 87 in the St. Louis area.
In the Democratic campaign for a U.S. House seat near St. Louis, Harold Whitfield received 7,844 votes while Glenn Koenen got 7,893. Whitfield said Thursday he plans to seek a recount.
"In my gut, I think there's enough to push me over the top," Whitfield said.
The other close Democratic primary in St. Louis was waged between incumbent state lawmakers Stacey Newman and Susan Carlson. In a district redrawn after the 2010 census, Newman claimed 1,823 votes and Carlson had 1,822 votes.
In another close race, Republican state Rep. Thomas Long appeared to be 28 votes behind businessman Jeff Messenger for a state House district west of Springfield. Long, who is completing his first term in the state House, said Thursday he is considering options that include whether to ask for a recount
"We're going to follow the process and procedure for what is an excruciating close election," Long said.
In southeastern Missouri, the GOP primary for a state House district appeared to have been decided by 8 votes: Dennis Fowler had 1,921 and Bob Thrower had 1,913.
The newly drawn state House district covers Stoddard County and a slice of Scott County, including part of the community of Chaffee. The Dexter Daily Statesman reported a potential problem in Chaffee in which the GOP ballot had the neighboring state House district.
Scott County Clerk Rita Milam said Thursday that a voter called to report the incorrect ballot was provided. Milam said it was immediately corrected and that she sent a staff member to the polling station, who received no complaints. Polls opened at 6 a.m., and Milam said the ballot issue was addressed before 6:30 a.m.
Thrower said he was told someone voting at 7:30 a.m. claimed to receive the wrong ballot. He said he plans to seek a court order in an effort to determine how many incorrect ballots may be have been submitted. Yet, he does not plan to seek a recount if there were not enough ballots at issue to change the outcome.
"If it's less than eight, I will concede and sit down. But if it's more than eight, it's just not right," said Thrower, a 48-year-old retired military officer who lives in Dexter.