Mills to request recount of 8th District loss to Nolan
BRAINERD -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan won re-election in one of the most expensive races in the country with 50.17 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Republican Stewart Mills garnered 49.61 percent.The results were too cl...
BRAINERD - Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan won re-election in one of the most expensive races in the country with 50.17 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Republican Stewart Mills garnered 49.61 percent.
The results were too close, Mills told the Pioneer Press on Monday, to just let it go.
Mills said once the results are certified Tuesday, he will request and pay for a hand recount of all the votes in the northern 8th Congressional District. The state’s canvassing board will meet Tuesday afternoon, which opens the window for discretionary recount requests.
“It’s just double-checking the numbers,” Mills said.
Since the results were more than a quarter of a percent apart, the state will not pay for a recount. Mills said he did not know how much the recount would cost but was hopeful it would be less than six figures.
“Congressman Nolan is proud that voters in the 8th District elected to send him back to represent them in Washington, D.C. While he has the right to do so, Mr. Mills’ choice to pay for a recount is unprecedented, and it calls into question the integrity of Minnesota’s election system, which is administered through the volunteer efforts of election judges from both parties,” Nolan campaign manager Joe Radinovich said in a statement. “We appreciate those efforts, and we expect there will be no change in the outcome.”
It is unclear how long the recount would take.
A 2000 congressional recount - in which the two Minnesota candidates were separated by about 150 votes out of 280,000 cast - took about two weeks before it concluded in mid-December. In the 8th Congressional District, unofficial results show Nolan with a 2,000-vote advantage out of about 357,000 votes cast.
Ryan Furlong, spokesman for the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, said his office should have an estimate of how much the recount would cost by Wednesday. Mills will be responsible for paying the county’s expenses for “any election judge, municipal clerk, county auditor, administrator or other personnel who participate in the recount; necessary supplies and travel related to the recount,” he said.
Mills said he is not alleging fraud or illegal votes changed the outcome but that political anomalies in the results mean an extra check is needed. According to the unofficial tally, Nolan received significantly more votes than Democrat Hillary Clinton did in the district and Mills received significantly fewer votes than Donald Trump.
“A lot of it didn’t make sense,” Mills said.
The Republican, who spent nearly $2 million of his own money on the nearly $20 million race, said he does not want a lot of hoopla around the recount.
“We’re hoping this is going to be a very low-key affair,” Mills said.
Mills said that if Nolan did indeed outperform Clinton by as much as the pre-recount results show he did, he would tip his hat to the returning congressman and offer to buy him a beer.