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Wayne Recount Finished; GOP To Control State House

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WAYNE COUNTY, N.C. — Republicans will control the state House in January after a recount declared a Republican candidate as the winner in Wayne County.

Rep. Phil Baddour, the House majority leader since 1999, lost toRepublican Louis Pate after a hand recount in Wayne Countycompleted Friday afternoon gave Pate a 174-vote victory, a countyelections official said.

Along with the GOP defeat of Rep. Alice Underhill, D-Craven, inanother recount completed Friday, Republicans will have a 61-59lead over Democrats in the chamber starting in January.

Baddour appeared to have won by nearly 900 votes after ElectionDay, but Pate took the lead a few days later when straight-ticketballots not counted by voting machines were tallied.

The hand recount showed Pate with 8,508 votes, while Baddour had8,334 votes. Each candidate gained a half-dozen votes compared tothe previous tally.

The state Board of Elections will certify the winners in alllegislative elections Tuesday.

Democrats have led the chamber since the 1998 elections. The GOPhas only controlled the House for four years going back to 1899.

"I think we're going to suffer with not having Phil Baddour asour leader in the Legislature," Wayne County Democratic Partychairman Larry Jones said in the Wayne County Courthouse inGoldsboro, where the recounts were held.

Earlier Friday, a machine recount confirmed Republican MichaelGorman had defeated Underhill in the District 3 race. Gorman won by183 votes over Underhill; last week's recount gave him a 182-votelead.

The Republican majority caps a stunning reversal for the GOP.

The party looked like it would make little headway in theelections after a redistricting map drawn by a judge earlier thisyear still favored Democrats more compared to boundaries used inthe 2000 elections.

House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, predicted winning asmany as 65 seats.

But Republican candidates, some helped by Elizabeth Dole'scoattails in the U.S. Senate race, defeated a half-dozen Democraticincumbents, including Baddour, appropriations panel co-chairmanDavid Redwine and Majority Whip Andy Dedmon.

The House appeared split 60-60 until the District 11 race swungto Pate's favor.

Pate's victory means House Republicans will get to choose amajority leader when they caucus Sunday in Greensboro. It alsolikely boosts chances for any of at least four GOP candidates forspeaker to win.

Black's hopes for a third term speaker also took a hit with thefinal recount.

Two state House race recounts completed Thursday also affirmedthat the leading candidate after Election Day was the winner.Republican Bonner Stiller defeated Democratic incumbent DavidRedwine in District 17, while Democrat Alice Bordsen won overRepublican Bob Sharpe in District 63.

Election officials in Wake County continued a machine recountFriday in the state Senate race between Eric Reeves and Paul Coble.Reeves led by 475 votes before the recount.

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