David Shepard, the newcomer Republican who sits 20 votes shy of knocking off an incumbent Democratic State Senator, finds himself in an electoral pickle.
The question: to recount or not recount?
For much of the month of November and into December, Shepard led State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D– Sanger) in the hotly-contested 16th Senate District battle.
Then, courtesy of poor estimates of remaining ballots in Kern County, Hurtado managed to flip the script, picking up a 24 vote lead.
By California’s local certification deadline of Thursday, Hurtado’s lead shrunk to 20.
Saturday, Shepard issued a statement making clear he isn’t necessarily done with this election.
At the top of mind? A scrum over uncured ballots in Fresno County.
“With such a small margin, we must be especially vigilant in making sure every single legally cast ballot is counted,” Shepard said in a statement. “Several members of my team were personally told by employees of the Fresno Registrar of Voters that the deadline to cure ballots had been extended. Our team continued to cure ballots until the provided deadline and they were accepted by the Fresno ROV, therefore we fully expect the Fresno ROV to count those ballot cures. Until this matter is further clarified from Fresno County, my resolve will remain the same.”
Shepard added that the severe underreporting of unprocessed ballots in Kern County have raised additional issues.
“Furthermore, Kern County Elections misreported to the Secretary of State that they were in possession of 10,000 fewer ballots than what they ended up counting. This raises questions about the procedures Kern County Elections chooses to implement. Ensuring the ability of the Kern County Elections Office to accurately count and report results should be a bipartisan issue,” Shepard said.
He added that his campaign continues to weigh a recount.
“Given the 136,894 ballots cast, the small margin, unaccounted cured ballots, and clear procedural issues in Kern, even the slightest of errors could be consequential.”