By Ryan Richardson
DUQUESNE, Mo. —
A special election could be in the future for Duquesne residents to resolve a 1st Ward tie in Tuesday’s election between incumbent Councilman Frank Herron and challenger Barbara Welch.
Herron and Welch each received 54 votes.
Under state law, both candidates have the options of seeking a special election or breaking the tie by lot, or chance.
A decision in the matter is not an easy one. Both candidates said they were not expecting the outcome and that they need more information before deciding what to do.
“I never thought that the race would end up like this,” Herron said Wednesday. “I’m not sure where we go from here, but I know I want it to be fair for everyone involved.”
Welch, too, was mulling the issue Wednesday. “It is something that you need to think about,” she said. “I don’t want to trivialize the votes of the 54 people who voted for me with a flip of a coin.”
She suggested that she also would not want to force the expense of a special election without giving the question full thought. “There are some important issues that the city is facing, and I think I could help resolve them,” she said.
Jasper County Clerk Bonnie Earl said Wednesday that if the candidates cannot agree on deciding the election by chance, the city will have to pay to hold a special election in the next 30 days.
“The county will pay for nothing, but we will run the election,” Earl said. “The city would pay for new ballots for that ward and the cost of the election workers, but the county will provide what they need to run the election.”
Herron said he was unsure of the specifics of the law in the event of a tie. “I have to look at my options past this and know what questions to ask of the county,” he said.
Welch said she was awaiting more information from the city clerk, and that she would make a decision in the next day or two.
“If someone thinks their vote doesn’t count,” she said, “this is a perfect example that every vote does count.”
While it was not as close, the outcome of the race for the mayoral post between incumbent Denny White and challenger Lisa Daugherty ended only two votes apart, with White edging out Daugherty 146 to 144.
Daugherty said she will ask for a recount.
“I have inquired through the county to see what avenues I have, and I will ask for a recount,” Daugherty said. “For now, I am still on the city’s council, and I look forward to continue serving and representing them.”
White sought his fourth term in the election, but it was his first election with a challenger. He said the close results did not surprise him, but that he is confident that a recount would not change the outcome. He said a second count Tuesday night showed the same results.
“I do feel that this matter is settled and the outcome will not change,” White said. “I believe that the voters elected me as mayor again.”
Earl, the county clerk, said a recount would be conducted by machine with both parties allowed to attend the count.
DUQUESNE CITY CLERK TERRY INGRAM said the cost of a special election could run as much as $2,000, with $1,500 needed to print ballots alone.