James gains one vote in Pike Co. recount

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A recount of the Alabama gubernatorial primary election gave Tim James one more vote from Pike County.

But, like the rest of the state’s counties participating in the recount Tuesday, the totals didn’t make much of a difference to James’ third-place status. The recount will continue in various parts of Alabama Wednesday and Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Though, for now, the July 13 Republican runoff contenders remain Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley, who was the second-place candidate in the June 1 Republican primary, and led James by 167 votes. James called for a recount across the state, despite an opinion issued by Alabama Attorney General Troy King that Byrne and Bentley will have to remain on the ballot for the July 13 primary.

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The AP reports James has filed an election contest to be heard June 24, but the 21-member Republican executive committee doesn’t have to make a decision until after the July 13 runoff.

“The primary election contest Tim James filed with the Alabama Republican Party is a temper tantrum thrown on paper and nothing more,” King said in a news conference.

But, James told the AP he would insist he be on the ballot for the runoff if he overcomes Bentley’s narrow vote lead.

“If we go up ahead, then I expect to be on the ballot and the party will have to figure it out,” James said.

While it remains to be seen what will happen as the recount continues, for Pike County’s Tuesday recount at least, James gained four votes and Bentley gained three, enabling James to make up one vote in his attempt to overtake Bentley. The new totals are 1,051 votes for Bentley and 880 for James.

Byrne still leads the gubernatorial primary race in Pike County with 1,083 votes total.

He earned three more local votes in the recount, and Judge Roy Moore earned two additional votes.

The recount, led by the Pike County Republican Party, included 12 votes changed in the race. Local Republican Party Chair Adam Drinkwater said the votes were under votes in the June 1 election, but simply because they were not read by the machines.

“We visually inspected them and determined they were regular votes,” Drinkwater said.

Bentley on Tuesday called for a halt to the hand count of under votes, citing these votes were being counted by “untrained volunteers” and no “consistent standard.”

“In each case the ballots were clearly witnessed by poll workers, executive committee members and representatives of the Bentley campaign and James campaign,” Drinkwater said.

There were five members of the Pike County Republican Executive Committee and eight poll workers present for the recount. Probate Judge Wes Allen said the Pike County Commission was paid $3,800 by James to fund the recount Tuesday.