Incumbent Democratic-NPLer Lois Delmore has won a ninth term as one of District 43's two members of the North Dakota House, a victory finalized Monday after a daylong recount process that resulted in Delmore with a five-vote lead over Republican challenger Don Dietrich.
Election Day vote totals showed Delmore with a seven-point lead over Dietrich. But election officials and attorneys for the two candidates went through 4,115 ballots Monday, and the attorneys challenged several absentee and traditional voting ballots that ended up cutting Delmore's final lead to five votes.
With the recount board's Monday night decision, Delmore will get another term representing the district that includes much of southwestern Grand Forks.
The recount was triggered automatically under state law because Delmore's lead was less than a half percent of Republican Curt Kreun's total. Kreun received 1,972 votes, the highest total of the four candidates on the ballot and a vote total that was left unchanged after the recount process.
Democratic-NPL candidate Don Vangsnes came in a distant fourth on Election Day, and ended up with a total of 1,510 votes after two votes for him were rejected by the recount board.
After the recount was finalized, Delmore said she was "relieved" and "excited" at the outcome.
"I trust the voters and this time it came through," she said. "I'm very happy. It was a very civil but a very long day."
The recount began at 8 a.m. Monday, and it wasn't until about 5:15 p.m. that the recount board made up of three members convened to discuss the challenged ballots. The board verified the final results at about 7 p.m.
Delmore said she's been through many elections, but it was the first time she was involved in a recount.
Dietrich said he knew going into Election Day that it was going to be a "very, very close" race because polling had shown him that the candidates were neck and neck. But Dietrich appreciated that the candidates were able to keep a "positive" campaign, and said he's friends with Delmore.
"I wish her the best," he said. "I would have loved to see the outcome a little bit different of course, but that's the way it goes."
Final vote totals
The top two vote-getters on the District 43 ballot are elected to a four-year term in the North Dakota House. Here are the vote totals as finalized by the recount board Monday:
- Curt Kreun (Republican): 1,972 votes
- Lois Delmore (Democratic-NPL): 1,899 votes
- Don Dietrich (Republican): 1,894 votes
- Don Vangsnes (Democratic-NPL): 1,510 votes
Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to email@example.com.