By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
The GOP primary for State Senate District 27, where challenger Jay Hovey had a four-vote lead over incumbent Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, according to unofficial results Tuesday, will be settled next week.
There are 87 provisional ballots to be tallied, Secretary of State John Merrill told Alabama Daily News. That multi-step process will be completed Tuesday in the three counties included in district 27, he said.
Tuesday is the deadline to certify election results.
Merrill on Wednesday did not know how many of the provisional ballots were for the GOP primary, rather than the Democrat primary. But 67 of them are from Lee County, which Hovey carried on election night. The district also includes portions of Tallapoosa and Russell counties, which Whatley carried. There was one overseas ballot cast, but it was for the Democrat primary, Merrill said.
Hovey, an Auburn City Council member, and Whatley, a three-term incumbent who chairs the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, did not return calls for comment on Wednesday.
Merrill said he’d spoken to both men on Wednesday and explained the process. A candidate can ask for a recount in a primary, but must pay for it. Recounts are automatic in general elections when vote totals are within .5% of each other.
Whatley spent about $1.2 million on the race, compared to Hovey’s $94,674, according to campaign finance records. The primary winner will face Democrat Sherri Reese in November.