Deadline nears for Senate District 18 primary recount

ATLANTA -- The challenger in a midstate election decided by a margin of less than 1 percentage point has only a few hours left to follow up his pledge to ask for a recount.

Spencer Price finished with 10,324 votes to incumbent state Sen. Cecil Staton’s 10,527 votes, according to official results in the state’s District 18 Senate Republican primary.

Because the gap is less than 1 percent, the Georgia Secretary of State will call for a recount if Price requests one.

Price could not be reached by telephone on Wednesday, though he has previously said he will ask for a recount.

The deadline to ask is the close of business Thursday, two days after Georgia certified the results.

Recounts are “overseen by us and done by the counties just like election night,” said Jared Thomas, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office.

“They will re-scan all the absentee ballots and re-tabulate results” from voting machines, he said.

In a written statement after Georgia verified the first count, Staton said the certification made his “campaign victory official.”

Thomas said he was not aware of any case of a recount changing an outcome.

Since 2002, all Georgia voters have used electronic voting machines.

The winner takes the Senate seat and goes to Atlanta in January, because there is no Democratic opponent.

But it’s not clear if the tepid endorsement from voters in the district will be followed by a struggle for Staton to remain Senate majority whip. The Senate GOP caucus will vote on leadership after the November general election.

“I have not decided about whether I will run for (majority whip), some other office or return to being a committee chair. You can’t be whip and a full committee chair at the same time,” Staton wrote in an e-mail.

Staton led the Senate Science and Technology Committee before being voted whip two years ago.

There likely will be 36 to 38 Republicans in the state Senate by late November and some of them, wrote Staton, are undecided about who they will support for leadership.

“Conversations at this point about caucus positions invite premature speculation,” he said.

The 18th district covers all of Upson, Monroe, Crawford and Peach counties, plus parts of Bibb and Houston counties.