Recounts Are Possible In Some Primary Races With Close Finishes

In 17th Senate District Democratic Primary, Wittwer Defeats Bomhack By Mere 2 Votes

Ernie Wittwer giving an interview to WISC-TV, Madison's CBS affiliate. Photo courtesy of Ernie Wittwer.

Some of the close finishes in Tuesday’s primary elections have set up the very real possibility of recountsespecially in the 17th Senate District in southwestern Wisconsin, where Democrat Ernie Wittwer defeated his opponent Pat Bomhack by a mere two votes.

Once all votes were counted, Wittwer led Bomhack 3,828 to 3,826. Wittwer said he was hoping for a larger victory, but he’s happy to be ahead.

“I’d rather be up two votes than down two votes,” he said.

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Wittwer and Bomhack are both hoping to be their party’s nominee to take on Republican Howard Marklein in the general election. Wittwer said he knows Bomhack could ask for a recount with the race this close.

“If it happens, I’ll be prepared for it,” said Wittwer. “I hope it doesn’t happen because I think we ought to get our eye back on Howard Marklein — he’s the one we want to beat in this race.”

Bomhack did not return calls seeking comment. He did, however, release a written statement:

“Last night was an exciting time to be a Democrat in the 17th Senate District. Over 7,000 people turned out to vote in the Democratic primary to nominate a candidate to stop the extreme positions of Republican Howard Marklein. Now we can let election officials finish counting all of the ballots cast in Tuesday’s election and await the completion of the official canvassing process.”

Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said it will be a little while before county clerks report the final vote totals.

“First, before the recounts can start, we have to have the official results,” said Magney. “And in some cases, we still have absentee ballots coming in by mail, and they can get in as late as 4 p.m. on Friday.”

Magney said it’s possible that in a race separated by just two votes, those absentee ballots could change who’s in the lead.

Magney also said the same rules apply in federal races, like in the 6th Congressional District where state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-Campbellsport, won his primary by just 214 votes over Joe Leibham. The Associated Press called that race for Grothman Tuesday night, but rolled back that announcement the race on Wednesday after votes from Sheboygan County nearly put Leibham in the lead.