Newcastle state Senate race appears headed for recount

November 18, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

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NEW — 12 p.m. Nov. 18, 2010

The last undecided race to represent Newcastle in Olympia appears to be headed for a recount.

State Sen. Randy Gordon trailed challenger Steve Litzow by more than 1,000 votes in the days after the Nov. 2 election. In the 15 days since the campaign ended, the gap between the Democrat Gordon and Republican Litzow has slimmed to 142 votes.

Under state law, a machine recount is required if the difference between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates.

King County Elections has tallied 62,252 ballots in the race so far. The margin for a machine recount in the race is about 300 votes.

The law requires a manual recount if the difference between the top candidates is less than 150 votes and also less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates. Under the latest tally, the margin for a manual recount is 156 votes.

The county Canvassing Board meets Nov. 23 to certify the election results. The board authorizes recounts in local and regional races.

In the meantime, both political parties seem poised to scrutinize any recount.

King County Council members appointed Bellevue attorney Gordon to the seat in January after then-Sen. Fred Jarrett resigned to serve as deputy King County executive. Litzow serves as a Mercer Island city councilman.

The contest is to fill Jarrett’s unexpired term. The eventual victor faces voters again in 2012.

Gordon and Litzow hope to represent the 41st Legislative District.

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