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Recount is over for a state race in Southeast Kansas - KOAM TV 7

Recount is over for a state race in Southeast Kansas

COLUMBUS, KANSAS -

Updated November 10, 2010 12:30 PM CST:

The candidates for the Kansas State Representative District 1 seat were separated by 77 votes.

Mike Houser narrowly lost to incumbent Doug Gatewood and had called for the recount.

Tuesday's hand count took two more votes away from Houser, with Gatewood winning by a total of 79.

In a phone interview Tuesday evening, Mike Houser says "it was a pretty close race.  I wish Mr. Gatewood the best and I'm sure he'll look after our district with the utmost regard and try to do the best he can.  And I'll probably see him again in 2012."

Since Houser requested the hand recount he will pick up the cost, more than $1,700.

Corrected November 9, 2010 03:00 PM CST:  We would like to make a correction to a story we brought you Monday concerning absentee voting in the Kansas state representatives race in Cherokee County.

We incorrectly reported that 1st District Representative Doug Gatewood's son, Beau, was married.

In fact, Beau Gatewood is not married.

He works as an electrical journeyman in Texas and his father says he has lived there since June.

His family says it is not unusual for Beau Gatewood to vote in Kansas.

The Gatewood family says state statute allows residents who intend to return to the state in the future to cast ballots in that state.

Originally reported November 8, 2010 06:20 PM CST

A narrow margin between two candidates for the Kansas House of Representatives has one asking Cherokee County to count again.

Mike Houser lost to his opponent, Doug Gatewood, in last Tuesday's election by 77 votes.

Houser thinks the cause could be voting machine errors, but faulty machines may not be the only problem.

Houser hurried into the Cherokee County courthouse Monday morning eager to turn in a proposal demanding a re-count of votes from last weeks elections, and asking for a couple of requests - one dealing with opponent Doug Gatewood's wife, Crystal Gatewood, the Cherokee County clerk.

"To maybe have her excuse herself from the election, being that she definitely has a conflict of interest, and another one stated I would like to have a hand-count and a machine count," says Mike Houser.

Besides machine errors on election day, there is another concern about the votes counted in Kansas.

This year's advanced voting list contains the names of every Kansas voter who mailed in their ballots.  Doug Gatewood's son, Beau Gatewood, appears on this list, even though he currently is not living in Kansas.  He resides in Texas.

Crystal Gatewood says her son is temporarily living in Texas for work and that it is common for voters to still cast ballots in the state in which they claim permanent residency.

State statutes regarding on absentee voting are vague, but county commissioners say the allegations warrant suspicion.

"I think what we will have to do is relay that information to the Secretary of State and see what they come up with," says Cherokee County commissioner Richard Hilderbrand.

Houser thinks it may have just been an over-sight and is just glad that his request for a re-count was granted.

Houser was informed that he had to pick between one of the two counting methods.  He chose to have them hand-counted.

The re-count is expected to begin Tuesday, and the results could be announced by Friday.

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