The recount in the disputed state representative race between incumbent Democrat Doug Gatewood and Republican challenger Mike Houser was completed Tuesday afternoon with a net pickup of two votes for Doug Gatewood who was returned to office.
According to documents from Cherokee County Clerk Crystal Gatewood's office, Doug Gatewood received 2,907 votes to Houser's 2,828 a difference of 79 votes. After last Friday's canvassing the difference was 77 votes. Crystal Gatewood is married to Doug Gatewood.
In his request for a recount Houser had demanded Crystal Gatewood recuse herself from the process.
Outgoing Secretary of State Chris Biggs' office said that was not required by statue, but Crystal Gatewood said she left the office once the recount began on Tuesday.
"I drew up the plan (for the recount) and got it organised," she said. "Once they started counting I left and worked from home."
Crystal Gatewood said she had several Republicans and Democrats on the various boards needed for the recount.
Houser said he was unsurprised by the outcome, but was satisfied it was fair.
"I didn't figure it'd change a whole lot," he said. "I just wanted to make sure the machines weren't messed up."
Houser had pointed to difficulties with the new M100 voting machines the night of the election as a reason to request the recount.
Crystal Gatewood said in the case of the two vote pick up the voters in question had marked their ballots in such a way that the optical scanning machines were unable to read them. But a panel of judges which had more Republicans than Democrats determined the voters had intended to vote for Doug Gatewood.
Doug Gatewood said the closeness of the hand recount results to the original machine count shows how accurate the system is.
"I think it shows the people at the polls and the M100s worked just fine," he said. "It just verified the work that the poll workers did."
Houser too, said he was satisfied with the count and the results.
"I want to congragulate Mr. Gatewood on his win and trust he will serve the county well," Houser said adding he's planning on running again in 2012, "unless I die first.
"A lot can happen in two years but so far I'm planning on (running)."
Doug Gatewood said he's not thinking about the next campaign yet.
"You know right now I'm just taking it one day at a time," he said. "We're facing serious issues in the legislature. We're just trying to come up with good, common sense solutions to the problems we're facing today."