The second-place finisher in the vote tally for the Republican Party’s U.S. senate race is unwilling to concede.
Christopher Reed of Marion won 35.3 percent of the votes cast according to what was reported from precincts statewide Tuesday night. George Eichhorn of Stratford finished 413 votes behind.
"The Republican primary race is so close it is still not clear that a winner can be discerned from the preliminary, unofficial numbers released last night," Eichhorn said in a written statement issued at 10:30 this morning. Eichhorn went on to say next week’s county canvass may provide a different result. Eichhorn also cites state election law which "provides for a recount" when primary contestants are within one percentage point of one another.
If that official vote canvas Eichhorn mentioned shows neither Reed nor Eichhorn getting at least 35 percent of the votes cast Tuesday, then a winner in this race will have to be decided at a convention. The Republican Party’s state convention is scheduled for Saturday, June 14.
Caleb Hunter, the party’s executive director, says this race may indeed be undecided. "As it looks right now, it looks like it could go to convention, in which case we will be prepared to select our nominee," Hunter says. The last time a convention was held to determine a primary winner was in 2002 when Steve King won the Republican Party’s nomination for Iowa’s fifth district congressional seat at a convention in Denison.
Hunter says choosing the Republican Party’s 2008 U.S. Senate nominee at the party’s state convention would be good for the G.O.P. "It’s not often that delegates get to have such an important voice in who our nominee to run against Tom Harkin’s going to be, " Hunter says. "This will definitely ratchet up the interest in state convention and also will be a beneficial thing, I think, for the organization of our party into November."