COLUMBUS, Ohio – A congressional race that was so close it triggered an automatic recount finally wrapped up Monday with officials confirming Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce had won.
Pryce ended Election Night 1,055 votes ahead of Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, but the difference was within a half-percentage point, which requires an automatic recount under Ohio law.
The recount numbers, released Monday, showed Pryce had gained 7 more votes, to win with 110,739 votes to 109,677 for Kilroy.
The two women waged one of the country's most closely watched races, with Pryce — as the House's No. 4 Republican leader — seen by national Democrats as vulnerable on the war on Iraq and her championing of President Bush's failed Social Security privatization plan.
Kilroy also sought to capitalize on Pryce's close relationship with former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, whose sordid electronic messages to underage pages became a campaign issue in the final weeks.
The new totals will remain unofficial until the Franklin County Board of Elections meets later this week to confirm the results.
The recount was the largest nationally to match up electronic results against totals collected on voter-verified paper audit tapes on machines made by Election Systems & Software Inc., one of the primary vendors of electronic-voting technology. machines, Franklin County elections director Matthew Damschroder said.
The board exceeded state minimum requirements for the recount and tallied more than 10 percent of votes by hand, rather than the mandatory 3 percent, he said.
"It was important for us because of the closeness of the contest, the first time we were using this voting system, and actually looking at the notoriety of the contest nationally, for us to go above and beyond the requirements of the state to give that full proof of the accuracy," Damschroder said.
Pryce was to hold a news conference later Monday. Don McTigue, a lawyer representing Kilroy, said she was on jury duty and unavailable by telephone Monday.
Nationally, one House race has yet to be decided: In Texas, GOP Rep. Henry Bonilla faces Democratic former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in a runoff Tuesday.
In Florida, Democrat Christine Jennings is contesting her election loss to Republican Vern Buchanan, who was certified the winner of a race to replace Rep. Katherine Harris.
Jennings, who trailed Buchanan by 369 votes after a manual recount, has argued that the machines malfunctioned in Sarasota County, where many voters attended a public hearing after the election to complain that their vote didn't properly register.