BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A computerized rescan of mail-in votes has narrowed the outcome of a race for the No. 2 spot in the Senate District 16 election and could produce a rare tie.
Baton Rouge Rep. Franklin Foil edged out his house seatmate Rep. Steve Carter by a mere eight votes on election night, which would have forced a runoff between Foil and Democratic front-runner Beverly Brooks Thompson.
But a problem with a number of mail-in ballots forced a rescan, and it now appears the two republicans tied. Foil says he will request a full recount by hand of the 1,000 or so mail-in ballots.
Foil sent an official letter requesting a recount to East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court Doug Welborn on Oct. 15.
“I want to make sure the ballots are counted, they’re counted properly, and whatever the outcome is - I’ll accept the outcome,” Foil said in an interview with WAFB.
If the votes between Carter and Foil remain even, all three candidates will be on the ballot in the Nov. 16 runoff. By law, the top vote-getter wins, meaning the election will be decided by a plurality, not a majority, of voters in the district.
It would be the first time in Louisiana history three candidates for a seat in the state legislature advanced to a runoff, though it would be the 12th election outside the capitol to feature three runoff candidates, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
“This is a unique situation. My position in the lead for Senate District 16 is unchanged and our campaign will relentlessly press forward without distraction,” Dr. Brooks Thompson said in a statement. “I believe it is important to follow the letter of the law as spelled out by the Secretary of State in the Election Code. Should a tie remain, the citizens should have the opportunity to vote on the top three candidates from the primary and choose their next senator. It is my sincere hope both gentlemen have the courage to do the right thing by the voters and proceed ahead in accordance with the law.”
“I am as committed today as I was when I entered this race back in February. The Secretary of State’s office has done an amazing job with managing this election cycle,” Rep. Steve Carter said in a statement. “We weren’t going to count ourselves out until we got the official results. I’ll be back out knocking on doors this afternoon! I’m looking forward to continuing to get our message out about lower taxes, better education and fixing our traffic problems. It has resonated with voters every step of the way. I’m looking forward to the runoff election and a positive outcome for our campaign on November 16th.”
Another race in Tensas parish produced a tie on election night, where two police juror candidates received 88 votes. The leader advanced with 90 votes.