18 votes: Hand recount nears for Morrell-Zeiger race

The OlympianNovember 12, 2010 

The 25th district legislative race between Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell and Republican Hans Zeiger moved to a razor close 18-vote margin after ballot counting this afternoon in Tacoma. That's well within the range for a mandatory recount by hand.

The 42nd district race was also heading toward a machine recount with Democratic Rep. Kelli Linville of Bellingham trailing Republican Vincent Buys by 241 votes. That one was awaiting another vote count this evening in Whatcom County.

Meanwhile, Charlie Wiggins' lead over three-term Justice Richard Sanders widened to 6,261 votes after King County tallied more ballots today. It looks like that one is outside the range of a recount (but Sanders could post a deposit to cover costs of a recount; he'd have to forfeit the money if the recount didn't flip the results).

The actual vote count in the Supreme Court race was 944,716 votes for Wiggins, the Bainbridge Island appellate and trial lawyer, and 938,455 votes for Sanders, the libertarian.

One other race still outside the mandatory recount range is the 41st district race where Republican Steve Litzow had a 309-vote lead over appointed Democratic Sen. Randy Gordon of Bellevue.

In the 25th, Zeiger had 24,800 votes and Morrell had 24,782. That's a difference of 0.04 percent, well within the 0.5 percent margin required for a machine recount. It also meets the tests for a manual recount – a difference of less than 150 votes and less than 0.25 percent.

Click here for running totals in legislative races.

"I think there is a good chance that is going to be a mandatory hand recount, because it is so close," state elections director Nick handy said in a telephone message today.

That brings back memories of Gov. Chris Gregoire's narrow 133-vote win in 2004. Of course, it would be on a smaller scale in only a portion of Pierce County.

If Gordon, Linville and Morrell all lose, Democrats will control the Senate by a 27-22 margin and the House by 56-42.

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