Monday, November 14, 2016

Not enough provisional ballots for Johnson to beat Smith for House seat

Johnson, left, and Smith, right
UPDATE: Tennessee state House candidate Gloria Johnson has conceded the race for the District 13 seat to Republican incumbent Eddie Smith.

"I'm very glad every vote was counted," she told WBIR 10News Monday afternoon. "I conceded earlier today and called Eddie Smith."

PREVIOUS: Statistically, it doesn’t appear that Gloria Johnson can beat Republican incumbent Eddie Smith to regain the 13
Election officials this morning began counting the provisional ballots that were cast in the race. Of the 597, only 86 came from voters in District 13.

Smith defeated Johnson during the Nov. 8 general election by 154 votes, according to the unofficial final returns. He led by 50.35 percent to her 49.65 percent.

Although the outcome of the election appears set, officials will continue to count the provisional ballots, which Cliff Rodgers, Knox County administrator of elections, said could take another week.

“We’re extremely pleased that we’re able to announce before lunch how many . . . provisional ballots were in that district,” he said. “This helps narrow the focus.”

Elections officials will still have to investigate whether the provisional ballots count. For example, was the voter really from the district and was the person actually registered to vote?

The difference in this year’s race was even closer than the last time they competed, when Smith won by less than 200 votes.

The two squared off in November 2014 when Johnson held the 13th District office and Smith challenged her. Smith ended up winning by less than 200 votes. More than 13,000 ballots were cast in that contest.

Some 22,000 ballots were cast on Nov. 8.

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