Sampson vote confirmed in Etheridge/Ellmers race

November 4, 2010 3:50:58 PM PDT
Sampson County became ground zero Thursday in the contest between Congressman Bob Etheridge and Renee Ellmers for North Carolina US House of Representatives District 2.

According to unofficial results, the pair are separated by about fifteen hundred votes, and Etheridge said Wednesday he will not concede the race until all the votes are in. He said he would ask for a recount if the margin stayed below one percent.

State election officials were in Sampson Thursday to double check results after the county reported a swing towards Etheridge of about 450 votes.

According to officials who spoke with ABC11 Thursday, the big change in Sampson came after one of four one-stop ballot boxes was submitted as one precinct. That blocked the results of the three other boxes from being tabulated.

Election officials noticed the glitch Wednesday and corrected the totals - leading to the extra Etheridge votes.

State officials rechecked those results Thursday and confirmed them.

U.S. House District 2 includes all or part of Chatham, Cumberland, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Nash, Sampson, Vance and Wake counties.

Etheridge said at a news conference in Raleigh Wednesday that some absentee ballots are still coming in from overseas, and there are also provisional ballots to review.

"It is incumbent upon all of us that this procedure be allowed to work," he said. "Any declaration of victory is premature and a disservice to the people of the Second District who have yet to have their voices heard and counted."

Ellmers has already declared herself the winner - saying Tuesday night that her win is a "victory for the people."

She told ABC11 Eyewitness News Wednesday that she had been expecting Etheridge's recount request, but is still confident she'll win.

"I'm glad Congressman Etheridge came out today and presented to us what his intentions are," she said. "We've been expecting it. If it were me, I would be doing the same thing."

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