By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer
A recount is under way that could bring closure to the state Senate District 7 race by week’s end.
The state granted Democrat Bob Frost a partial recount in his race against Republican incumbent Clint Harden, R-Clovis, when Harden was declared the winner by 36 votes of the nearly 18,000 cast.
The recount began Wednesday in Colfax County. Frost, a Quay County rancher, requested recounts in 11 precincts among Colfax, Taos and Union counties.
Taos and Union counties will begin its recounts today, Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron said in an interview with the Clovis News Journal on Wednesday.
She said recount results could be finalized by week’s end.
Frost said he and his committee strategically chose the precincts to challenge based on where they believed he could pick up votes. In the three counties being challenged, Frost leads Harden by 1,122 votes with more than 8,000 cast.
“We just chose to look at those different precincts hoping something might be there,” Frost said. “I didn’t think it would be this close but there is a chance for anything.”
Vigil-Giron said it would not be unrealistic to have the election swing to the challenger.
“It could possibly have an impact on this race,” she said.
Frost said he is paying for the partial recount from his own pocket. State law requires the challenger to deposit $50 per precinct challenged and $10 per voting machine. In all, Frost fronted about $660 and additional cost for paying workers could later apply.
If the recount produces a different winner, the state will reimburse Frost.
“I felt like it was money well spent,” Frost said. “We worked long and hard on this to be down 36 votes and we just felt like we owed it to ourselves and everybody that helped us out to go back and look at a few things.”
Frost did not choose to contest his native Quay County, where he won by 1,340 votes — nearly doubling Harden’s total. Frost said it appeared not to be cost effective to challenge any of the county’s 12 precincts.
“We thought about it and then we decided not to,” he said. “We felt like we would be better off going north.”
Harden, a long-time owner of Twin Cronnie in Clovis, won two of seven counties on election night. He earned 76 percent of Curry County’s 5,008 votes.