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After thousands of votes were recounted, Darrell Link has officially been re-elected as Grant County judge-executive.
Republican challenger Steve Wood decided to petition for a recount after he trailed by 45 votes at the end of election night and after a recanvass of votes Nov. 12.
At the end of the recount of paper ballots from the E-Scan machines, Link had a net gain of one vote.
There also were also at least 40 ballots that did not have any vote marked for either candidate or a straight party ticket.
Wood decided not to continue with a recount of the E-Slate machines and conceded the race.
“While it’s disappointing to have run a hard fought, good, clean campaign and to lose by such a small margin, if we’ve demonstrated that these elected offices still belong to the people and not to any one party or candidate, then our efforts were well worth it,” Wood said. “I believe we raised the consciousness of the accountability of elected officials to their constituents and the need to be ever cognizant as public officials that our first priority is to serve the citizens of Grant County. I thank Judge Link for a vigorously waged campaign and I congratulate him on his victory. I wish him well as he continues to serve Grant County.”
The recount took place over 12 hours between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 at the county clerk’s office.
It was only the fifth recount in Kentucky history, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Three independent commissioners selected by Circuit Court Judge Stephen Bates — former county clerk John McCoy, former Grant County Schools Superintendent Don Martin and Jack Eckler — hand counted the ballots. They will be paid $20 per hour for their services by Wood for a combined total of more than $700.
“I didn’t have any expectations going in,” Wood said about the recount. “But, I did want to see the way some things were done. I think it was well worth it. I learned a lot about the election process. Of course, I hoped for a different outcome, but I knew going in that it probably would not be to my favor.”
Although disappointed with the close loss, Wood did not hesitant when asked if he still had political aspirations to run for judge-executive again in four years.
“Absolutely, I will run again,” he said. “I felt like I did real well.”