Recount in HD73

One of the closest primary elections this year, and one of the few in which a Tom Craddick ally was knocked off by a challenger, is not over yet.

A recount of the nearly 30,000 votes cast earlier this month in four counties in the Republican primary race for House District 73 will begin Monday.

It is set for completion Wednesday and a winner may be announced by the end of next week.

The recount was requested and paid for by incumbent Rep. Nathan Macias, R-Bulverde, who is now trailing Doug Miller by a mere 29 votes. The recount cost Macias $5,500. Miller lives in New Braunfels, where he is a former mayor, and owns property in Gillespie County.

Although Macias defeated Miller in Comal, Bandera and Kendall counties after a heated race, he lost by more than 1,000 votes in Gillespie County, Miller’s family turf, prompting a rash of complaints to state election officials.

Macias’ recount petition was approved late Wednesday by Republican Party officials in Austin who will oversee the recount. Logistics were still being worked out Thursday, said Eric Opiela, executive director of the state GOP.

“We’ll announce a winner whenever the recount is finished. I think realistically, we’re looking at Thursday or Friday,” he said.

Hard to argue with Macias’ rationale in calling for the recount. Twenty-nine votes is a tiny margin, and when the difference is in your opponent’s home county, it’s easy to think there may be something fishy going on. Apparently, there were a lot of complaints on Election Day as well:

A flood of complaints to Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson followed Macias’ apparent hair-thin defeat on March 4. Among the issues raised was the brief involvement of a Miller in-law in handling paper ballots being counted in Gillespie County.

“We received over 200 different complaints by letter or e-mail about this race. There was enough there to refer them to the attorney general but I can’t comment beyond that,” said Scott Haywood, a spokesman for Williams.

A spokesman for Attorney General Greg Abbot, however, said Thursday that nothing yet had been received about the District 73 election.

Yes, well, as the complaints don’t involve minority Democrats (PDF), don’t hold your breath waiting for Abbott to spring into action. Thanks to South Texas Chisme for the link.

I should note that there was a similarly close race in Harris County, for the 190th District Court, in which Andres Pereira nipped Bruce Mosier by a 123,414-123,167 margin. Mosier just sent out an email, which I reproduce below, in which he has decided not to ask for a recount. It was a tough decision, and I commend him for making it. He’ll be back in 2010, and I look forward to voting for him again at that time.

To all good Democrats:

When one loses an election by 247 votes, out of 246,581 cast, it’s natural to consider a recount or some form of election challenge. I did that, and after much consultation and soul searching, I have concluded that it serves very little purpose to continue to ask my family, my good friends and my neighbors to fund a very expensive, time consuming, gut wrenching, and, I believe, hurtful action.

You all know me as a loyal Democrat – a man with deep convictions – who never waivers when it really counts. One of my strongest convictions is that loyal Democrats should do no harm to the Party’s ticket. To that end, I concede the nomination and congratulate my opponent on his victory.

However, don’t count me out. I may well be asking for your help in 2010, when all four County Civil Courts at Law will be up for election. I have served most of my years of practice in those Courts, trying Eminent Domain and other real estate related cases.

Let us pull together and work hard for victory in November.

Your friend,

Bruce Mosier

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