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Kanawha delegate may ask for recount

Chip Ellis
Kanawha County Commissioners Hoppy Shores, Dave Hardy and Kent Carper check with County Clerk Vera McCormick on a point of law during the election canvass at Voters Registration Tuesday morning.
Chip Ellis
Workers at the Kanawha County Voters Registration Office assist in the vote canvass.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Delegate Bobbie Hatfield has 48 hours to ask for a recount of last week's general election results.Hatfield, an incumbent Democrat running for one of four seats in the 35th Delegate District, was edged out by Republican John McCuskey on Election Night by a margin of 64 votes.But after challenged ballots were counted during the official vote canvass on Tuesday, McCuskey's lead had shrunk to 41. Final vote totals gave McCuskey 11,325 votes to Hatfield's 11,284.On Tuesday afternoon, Hatfield said she wanted to get some rest before deciding whether to ask for a recount."The chances are [a recount] may not turn it around. I'm just tired now," she said. "I think after I get some rest I can think it through and see if I want to fight, fight to the end."Final vote tallies for the other three delegates elected last week were 14,891 for Doug Skaff, 13,676 for Suzette Raines and 13,397 for Eric Nelson.
Skaff and Nelson are incumbents. Raines and McCuskey, if the results stand, will begin their first terms next year. Skaff is the only Democrat.About 76,000 Kanawha County residents voted in the Nov. 6 election. With such a close margin between McCuskey and Hatfield, "I would be stunned if we don't have a request for a recount," said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper.County Clerk Vera McCormick said Hatfield would have 48 hours to ask for a recount. If the former delegate decides to make the request, she will have to put up a $300 fee and pay for the cost of the recount if she loses. If Hatfield picks up enough votes to beat McCuskey and changes the results of the election, the county will pick up the tab.McCormick estimates the cost of a recount at less than $1,000.Staff writer Kate White contributed.Reach Rusty Marks at or 304-348-1215.
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