Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Republicans Hint at Pennsylvania Recount; by David Weigel and Mike DeBonis

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Republicans Hint at Pennsylvania Recount; by David Weigel and Mike DeBonis

Article excerpt

Byline: The Washington Post

Democrats have declared victory in the race for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, but Republican nominee Rick Saccone has not conceded -- and Republicans have taken some tentative steps toward seeking a recount.

On Wednesday, attorneys for Saccone asked for "immediate injunctive relief" in federal court after a campaign lawyer was not allowed to observe the count of ballots in Allegheny County, where Democratic nominee Conor Lamb won massively. They sent letters to election offices in Allegheny and the district's other counties requesting that ballots and voting machines be preserved, a step often taken before seeking a recount or challenge.

"We are waiting for provisional ballots to be counted," said Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "We are not ruling out a recount."

Pennsylvania's postgame drama is one of several roiling the state's politics, just days before candidates file in the new districts created by a court ruling that struck down a Republican-drawn map. The state's Republican majority is also waiting for the Supreme Court and a three-judge panel on a lower court to rule on their challenges to the new map, which was drawn by Pennsylvania judges who had been elected as Democrats.

The winner in the 18th district may not be certified until those other challenges end. According to Wanda Murren, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, the state will not certify the election until March 26 at the earliest, after all military, overseas, and provisional ballots are counted. The new congressman from the 18th district will have little to do until the second week of April, after the House of Representatives returns from its Easter recess.

There is no automatic recount provision for federal elections in Pennsylvania, and any new request to count votes would have to be paid for by Republicans. A party must first gather signatures to request a recount; Murren said that Republicans had not yet pulled petitions for that process. Their first move, asking to "impound" the machines, might not lead to a recount at all. …

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