By Leo Wolfson, political reporter
Thirteen votes were all that separated State Rep. JD Williams, R-Lusk, and challenger Allen Slagle in their Republican primary race for the State House Tuesday night, with Slagle pulling out a narrow, 13-vote victory.
The election was so close in House District 2 that under Wyoming law, a recount of the 3,624 votes cast in this race must occur. State law designates that a recount shall occur when a candidate wins a race by 1% of the vote or less. Slagle, a Newcastle resident, won this race by 0.4% of the vote.
“It’s only the closest races that the law would trigger,” said Monique Meese, a communications officer with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office.
Meese said her staff was busy recounting the ballots cast in the race as of Wednesday afternoon. She said there were no other state races that fell within a 1% margin between the winning candidate and their next closest competitor.
Williams said he doesn’t care much about the recount and would not have requested one if it wasn’t mandatory under state law. He said he doesn’t expect the 13 votes separating him and Slagle to change.
“I’ve worked with our county clerks in Weston, Niobrara and Goshen counties and have full confidence in our state’s elections,” he said.
Becky Hadlock, Weston County clerk, said she expects the results to return by the end of the day Wednesday. She said her staff have performed recounts for county commissioner elections in the past.
A recount can also be requested by any candidate as long as they provide an affidavit signed by 25 electors from their district and pay all costs of the recount. These costs will be reimbursed to the applicant if the recount changes the election outcome.
Candidates have until Aug. 26 to request a recount of their state-level election. Those running in county and city-level elections have until two days after their county canvass board certifies the results of their elections.
If Slagle’s win stands after the recount, he will advance to the general election where there is no Democratic challenger running.