Local Politics

Etheridge will call for recount in congressional race

Posted November 3, 2010

— Seven-term Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge on Wednesday said he will call for a recount in his re-election bid, where he trails Republican challenger Renee Ellmers by about 1,600 votes.

Ellmers claimed victory late Tuesday, and The Associated Press also declared her the winner in the tight Second District race.

Etheridge said in a Wednesday news conference outside the State Board of Elections headquarters in Raleigh that it's premature to declare the race over because thousands of votes still need to be counted.

"Procedures are in place to ensure accuracy, integrity and that the right of one person, one vote is honored," he said. "It is incumbent upon all of us that these procedures be allowed to work, and a declaration of victory does not change that."

According to unofficial totals gathered by the State Board of Elections, Ellmers led Etheridge by 1,646 votes Wednesday afternoon. That lead was down by about 450 votes from the lead she held late Tuesday.

Etheridge said he's confident the gap between him and Ellmers will close further once provisional ballots and some absentee ballots are counted in the race. He also said his campaign has heard about "voting irregularities" in some counties, but he didn't elaborate.

Elections officials said it would take at least a week to determine the validity of the provisional ballots.

State law allows for recounts when the difference between the candidates is less than 1 percent of the total votes cast. With more than 188,000 votes cast in the Second District, any difference of less than 1,880 votes would be eligible for a recount.

"I am confident that, when this process is completed, I will still be your congressman," Etheridge said.

Congressman Bob Etheridge Web only: Etheridge says don't call race too early

Ellmers, a Harnett County nurse, was given little chance of victory a few months ago. David Funderburk, who was elected in 1994 and defeated by Etheridge two years later, is the only other Republican elected in the Second District since 1900.

An online video depicting Etheridge confronting a man on a Washington, D.C., sidewalk raised the profile of the race and attracted outside groups, who revived the incident in a political ad last month.

The video showed Etheridge grabbing the arm and then the neck of a man who refused Etheridge's repeated demands to identify himself as he and another man videotaped Etheridge and asked if he supported "the Obama agenda."

Etheridge immediately apologized for the incident, and on Wednesday, he declined to say whether the video played a role in the election.

"A lot of money was spent in this race on her behalf," he said.

Map of 2nd congressional district Etheridge calls for recount in congressional race

Ellmers said Wednesday that the video reflected the "arrogance" of Washington politics but said she thought his support for the national health care reform effort was the deciding factor in the race.

"Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, people started to think he wasn't representing them," Ellmers said. "I feel for him, especially losing to someone like me who has never run before. But I think he's going to come to terms with it. We are going to be victorious, and he gets to come home to Harnett County."

Vote totals show that Ellmers won the two candidates' home turf in Harnett County, and she also carried Johnston County by a 2-1 margin.

"The state of the economy, the way things are going and the job situation, is what people are ticked off about," said Lillington resident W.D. Thomas, who voted for Ellmers after backing Etheridge in previous elections.

David Avrette, the owner of Howard's Barbecue in Lillington, blamed Etheridge's defeat on bad timing.

"Times are challenging, and people are looking for someone to blame it on," Avrette said. "I regret that he's not going to be able to continue to represent us. He's done an excellent job."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • mfarmer1 Nov 4, 2010

    >> What part of the Constitution is going to
    >> uphold the Health care bill? That is my question.
    The first paragraph

    Note The "promote the general Welfare" Part.

    But Democrats Have Over Stepped The "We the People of the United States" Part.

    I have thought About Being A Wal-Mart Greeter, So I Would Not Have To Pay 40% of my Income To Failed Government Programs.

  • Plenty Coups Nov 4, 2010

    wondermom-"Plenty coups, Thanks for posting the figures. It still doesn't change the facts that people with health insurance still get sick and die as well."

    Don't you get it? Some deaths are completely unnecessary.

  • nancy1210 Nov 4, 2010

    Why should the tax payers of North Carolina have to pay all of that money when we are already in debt, for a recount because Etheridge can not accept defeat by a woman. If this happens then a representative from both candidates should have a witness in attendance! I think there should be a limit as to how many years a person can serve. Everyone email Elaine Marshall and let her know that it must be a fair decision...

  • kawasaki333 Nov 4, 2010

    Wonder if Bob's office(which should be empty by now) has received a link to this Blog yet....? Probably wouldn't matter anyway, he's a shining example of many of our politician's arrogance and disregard for there responsibilty to have OUR voices heard.

  • Barely Nov 4, 2010

    Civil Rights was set under the 14th Amendment. Unless you are talking of the issues during the 1960's. That was held up under the 14th Amendment... as was the voting act under the 15th Amendment.

    Social Security was, and still is, a highly devisive subject. Today it is seen as a handout factory for anyone and everyone, as it was projected to be at the time it was forced through. Of course, there was less argument against social security at the time because anything was welcome to help assist the ailing economy.

    What part of the Constitution is going to uphold the Healthcare bill? That is my question.

  • Proud Black Constitutionalist Nov 4, 2010

    And without the Senate BROTHA, the Conservatives are going to have a hard road to travel!

    Bro--You don't have to be a sore loser, everything will be just fine. I'll lend you a shoulder to cry on.

  • Commenter Nov 4, 2010

    We just found out who Bob Etheridge is.

  • misschris234 Nov 4, 2010

    "I am still trying to figure out how this statement in this article has become "450 votes were found and they were ALL for Ethridge" Where are some of you getting this from?"

    This has been all over the news this morning. Sampson county officials have said they can't explain it but are saying that some votes may have been duplicated. I still smell a rat.

  • cary2006 Nov 4, 2010

    @danimalfurry: Civil right and voting rights were not amendments. They were laws enacting by congress because some states and some rotten people were subjective when it came to constitutional rights of the blacks. Equality of all people and right to vote were already in the constitution but some politicians and people found ways to segregate blacks in restaurants, buses and schools and implemented laws to prevent blacks from voting ( example - literacy laws for blacks to prevent them from voting). The civil right and voting right acts explicitly made these acts unlawful.

    My point is - while some people may find the SS, civil and voting and HC laws unconstitutional but ALL LEGAL CHALLENGES to the first three have failed in courts. I see the same direction to the HC reform law. HC reform doesn't require constitutional amendment as claimed for the same reasons as why the SS, civil and voting act didn't.

  • ncmedic201 Nov 4, 2010

    "That lead was down by about 450 votes from the lead she held late Tuesday."

    I am still trying to figure out how this statement in this article has become "450 votes were found and they were ALL for Ethridge" Where are some of you getting this from?