It was a highly competitive race that had one candidate conceding defeat Tuesday night while still leading on the Secretary of State's official website. It was the 84th District State Representative race between Incumbent Brandon Smith and his opponent, Scott Alexander.
After talking to officials in the Secretary of State's office and both the Harlan and Perry County Clerks, it appears that Brandon Smith has won this race as reported Tuesday by a very small margin of only 40 votes. There had been some confusion as to why the state's website had not been updated with that information, even as late as Wednesday afternoon. The website is now updated and both candidates say Smith appears to be the winner.
Officials say the confusion resulted from a transcription error as officials in the Harlan County Clerk's Office misread a receipt from one of their new voting machines.
"Every now and then they just type some things in incorrectly and apparently that's what happened in their case. Giving the appearance Mr. Alexander won the race, but we confirmed today that not is the case," said Les Fugate.
"We knew and we told the people an error had been made. It was an honest error they just reported the wrong number and that we greatly appreciated their support and help," Alexander said.
Officials say there were no problems with the voting machines, only reporting it to the state's website. Meanwhile after an up and down night, winner Brandon Smith says he's ready to look ahead towards his fourth term in office.
"I think with the political landscape shifting towards the Democrats and me winning tells you we put issues first, policy first. I've put the people in my district first and not party," Smith said.
Officials say the results in every race are unofficial for a period of about 10 days allowing candidates the opportunity to file for a recanvass of the vote which is just a first step in getting a recount. With a margin of just 40 votes between them, that's something Scott Alexander says he and the Democratic Party will definitely look at.