Bob Bell isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet in a hotly contested west Anchorage Senate race. After Friday's revelation that a mere 51 votes -- out of more than 15,100 cast -- separated Bell from Democratic incumbent state Sen. Hollis French, Bell on Monday asked the Division of Elections for a recount, according to The Associated Press.
The vote count was certified Friday, showing French with only that slim lead over Bell in what became one of the state's most expensive races. About 63 percent of registered voters in the district cast ballots.
Only one other race in the state, between Southeast Republican Rep. Bill Thomas and Democratic challenger Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, was closer, at 34 votes difference. Thomas has until Wednesday to decide whether or not to challenge in that contest.
If the total difference in votes comes to less than 0.5 percent of all ballots cast, the recount is free to the candidate and the state bears the cost. Typically, a candidate or complainant challenging a count would be required to pay a fee per district to be recounted.
Alaska Division of Elections director Gail Fenuaimi told the Associated Press that a recount is required to be performed within five days of the request, and should take only about a day to complete.
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