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800 votes separate Lehman, Wanggaard in recall election

RACINE — Democrat John Lehman defeated Sen. Van Wanggaard by nearly 800 votes in Tuesday’s recall election. But even that’s not a done deal. That’s because Wanggaard has not conceded the race — and a ballot recount could be on the horizon.

Lehman said Wednesday he remains confident though the race was incredibly close and a recount is possible.

While 800 votes may not sound like a lot, it appears to be enough votes to give Lehman his old state Senate seat back. Wanggaard ousted Lehman back in 2010.

The vote totals are also outside the range for the state to pay the costs of a recount. However, Lehman admits a recount in this race could happen.

“There is a possibility, because it’s pretty close, that Republicans would choose a recount. Don`t get an automatic recount because it’s not that close, but we’ll have to see what they do,” Lehman said.

There were few volunteers at the Republican “Victory Center” in Racine on Wednesday. One said he was just cleaning up. Wanggaard himself didn’t want to talk on camera. Instead, he released a statement pointing out voting irregularities and the number of absentee ballots still being counted.

Wanggaard’s statement says: “Over 70,000 people voted yesterday in a historic election. We know that there are a number of outstanding absentee ballots, voting irregularities, and that there were problems across the county in the unofficial tally of ballots. People across the state and country have asked that I immediately ask for a recount. However, we all know that the best decisions are made when well-rested and after consideration of all options. We will closely monitor the canvass of votes with legal representation. We will We will evaluate our options regarding recounts following the official count of ballots.”

The vote tallies in this race were extremely slow to report compared to the rest of the state. But the Racine County Clerk is not aware of any issues.

“Was it just voter turnout, volume, staffing, did they have issues? No one’s reported any problems or issues at their polling place. Part of it could be shear volume,” Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen said.

Lehman says he has not heard from Wanggaard, but understands that he has difficult decisions to make. In the end, Lehman believes he will remain victorious.

The Racine County Clerk says there are fewer than 600 absentee ballots left to count. Those will be counted by the end of the week. The official canvass of votes will take place on Tuesday, June 12th and they expect to have the official voting numbers then.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

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