After losing to Democrat Mary Frances Williams by 173 votes in the Nov. 6 election, state Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta, has requested a recount.
Elections officials will recount the votes Friday morning and, if necessary, recertify the results of the District 37 race at noon, according to Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler.
Official results show Teasley, a four-term incumbent, received 11,755 votes, or 49.6 percent, to Williams’ 11,928 votes last week, good for 50.3 percent of the vote.
Cobb certified its election results on Monday and the deadline to request a recount was 5 p.m. Wednesday.
If the difference between two candidates is 1 percent or less, the losing candidate has two business days after results are certified to request a recount, according Eveler, who received a hand-delivered letter from Teasley on Wednesday requesting her staff take another look at the race.
“When I started this campaign, I told our team I was committed to running a positive campaign because I am convinced we need more civility in politics,” Teasley said. “My request for a recount is made with the same mindset.”
The state representative said he owes it to his campaign volunteers and supporters to “ensure the accuracy of the election.”
Eveler said memory cards from voting machines at the district’s 20 precincts as well as those used for early voting will be re-uploaded and tallied again.
Paper absentee and provisional ballots will also be re-scanned and uploaded, Eveler said, estimating the entire process should take no longer than an hour and a half.
If the results stay the same on Friday, nothing will happen. If the results change, the Cobb Board of Elections will recertify the results at its noon meeting.
The last Cobb election in which a candidate requested a recount was the 2015 municipal election that saw former Smyrna Councilman Doug Stoner defeat Tara Simon 637 votes to 624.
The recount did not change the results of that race, said Eveler, who has never seen a recount affect the outcome of an election.
There was also a recount in November of 2013 when former Marietta Councilman Stuart Fleming ousted incumbent Annette Lewis by a single vote — 142 to 141. The recount didn’t change the results of that election either.
Teasley said he was surprised by last week's election results.
“I think politics is a competitive arena, and anytime your name is on the ballot, voters have the authority to say whether you continue doing that job or not,” Teasley said, adding he worked just as hard to get elected this year as he did when running for his first term. “I’m very, very proud of the effort my team put out, but I’m obviously surprised the result is what it was.”
He thanked his constituents in Marietta, east and west Cobb for giving him the opportunity to be their voice at the State Capitol, calling it “an amazing honor.”
His opponent, however, seemed less surprised by how close the election was, saying she expected a tight race.
“The district is 50-50,” Williams said. “I was running against a four-term incumbent who is in House leadership. I knew it was going to be a tough race, especially toward the end.”
Williams has no objection to Teasley’s request for a recount.
“It’s totally his right to ask for a recount so I don’t have a problem with that at all,” she said, adding she is fairly certain her margin of victory will hold.
Even if the recount doesn’t change the result of the race, Teasley said he isn’t through with politics.
“I still have a passion for public policy and public service so I’m not going away,” he said.