Boothe, Williams in limbo

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2014

With only 95 votes separating the candidates for Alabama House District 89, the race was deemed too close to call on Tuesday night.

“I started this in February and I still don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” said Joel Williams, the Democratic challenger in the race.

According to combined results between Pike and Dale counties, incumbent Republican Alan Boothe had 5,489 votes to Williams 5,394. However, provisional ballots have not been counted in the race and those could trigger an automatic recount or possibly change the outcome of the election.

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“We don’t know how many provisional ballots there are between Pike and Dale counties,” said Probate Judge Wes Allen. “And we won’t know the outcome until those ballots are counted and certified. If (Boothe’s) lead drops below 56 votes, it will trigger an automatic recount.”

“All I know tonight is that I’ve been told I won by 95 votes,” Boothe said. “Any time that you win, you should be pleased and I’m pleased.”

The race between Boothe and Williams was close all night and Boothe said a win by 95 votes is better than losing.

“This has been a hard-fought campaign and I’m relieved that it’s over,” he said.

The results of the election won’t be final until the provisional box is counted. Boothe said he has no idea how many ballots are in the provisional box.

“I consider this a win and I’m looking forward to serving the people of Pike and Dale counties four more years,” he said.

Allen said Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas took possession of all the ballots Tuesday evening. The Board of Registrars will begin reviewing the ballots today.

“They have to examine each ballot and determine if it’s a valid ballot,” Allen said. “They have about a week to do that. The provisional ballots will be counted on Nov. 12.”

That means Williams and Boothe must wait another week before a decision is issued in the race.

“It’s so close know that it depends on a possible recount and the provisional ballots,” Williams said. “These are things beyond my control and beyond what I contemplated … so I’ve got to tread water and hold my breath another week.”

Despite the uncertainty, Williams said he was gratified by the turnout and support, particularly in Pike County, where he led Boothe 4,824 to 4,187.

“In Pike County, where we both live, I beat him by 600 votes,” Williams said. “I got outspent two-to-one. And I had a lot of help, but not as much as he did … so regardless of the outcome, I’m happy that I won Pike County so big. That’s gratifying.”