Recount to determine winner between Hargrove, Sizemore in House District 47 race
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
November 28, 2012 · Updated 1:05 PM
A mandatory machine recount will decide the outcome of the tightly contested legislative race between State Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, and Kent Democratic challenger Bud Sizemore for the State House District 47 Position 1 seat.
The recount will be on Friday, said Kim van Ekstrom, King County Elections spokeswoman.
Hargrove, a Boeing instructor pilot and Air Force veteran, has a 157-vote lead through Tuesday's tally by King County Elections. Hargrove has 50.08 percent (27,101 votes) while Sizemore has 49.79 percent (26,944 votes). There were 70 write-in votes for .13 percent.
"I trust the system will work and affirm the count of today (Tuesday)," Hargrove said in a phone interview. "The machine recounts are pretty reliable so we should end up with a win."
Hargrove's lead dropped to 134 votes through Monday's tally before going up slightly Tuesday. His lead had been more than 300 votes until dropping to 284 votes on Nov. 19, 241 on Nov. 20 and to 134 on Nov. 26.
Hargrove is seeking a second, two-year term after defeating Democrat Geoff Simpson in 2010.
Sizemore, a Kent firefighter and former Covington City councilman, is making his first run for a state office. He expects Hargrove to hold on to the lead.
"Generally, it does not change when there is a 150-vote separation," Sizemore said in a phone interview Wednesday. "We're hopeful but we expect when the recount is done it probably will be the same results."
Sizemore said out of the 54,000 ballots, it would take about 80 votes credited to Hargrove that would need to change to him in order for the outcome to change.
"We need to let the process work and see the final count," Sizemore said.
House District 47 covers the East Hill of Kent as well as Covington, Black Diamond and parts of Auburn.
Any office must be recounted by machine when the difference between two candidates is less than 2,000 votes and less than .50 percent, according to the King County Elections website at www.kingcounty.gov/elections.
During a recount, only ballots included in the race will be pulled for the recount. Observers from political parties are invited to observe all recounts.
In machine recounts, the tabulating equipment is programmed to examine votes for the specific race being recounted. Some ballots are identified for closer inspection by Elections staff to confirm that the original results were correct.
After all ballots have been recounted, the Elections Canvassing Board reviews and approves the amended results. The board members are Sherril Huff, director of Elections; Kevin Wright, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office representative; and Anne Noris, King County Council representative. The board set the date of the recount.
Hargrove said he will attend legislative meetings Friday in Olympia so he will not be at the recount at the Elections Office in Renton. Sizemore said he will have a representative at the recount and may stop by himself as well.
Despite the long wait to decide the outcome and up-and-down leads, Hargrove expected a victory.
"I felt confident all along," Hargrove said. "It's kind of like waiting for Christmas."
Hargrove led by just 91 votes over Sizemore when the first results were released on election night Nov. 6. A week later, Hargrove had built that lead to 369 votes before the Sizemore comeback began.
Hargrove figures he will remain ahead after the recount.
"It's time to get to work," he said about heading to Olympia.
Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.