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NM race for House of Representatives seat in tie

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 07:42:06 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Election Day is over, but one race in southern New Mexico is still left without a winner.

The candidates for the state representative of District 37 are in an exact tie after a final count of more than 12,000 votes.

District 37 includes neighborhoods in East Las Cruces, on the East Mesa and in the Elephant Butte area of Sierra County.

Republican incumbent Terry McMillan and Democrat challenger Joanne Ferrary each came out with 6,217 votes.

Now the votes are up for a recount, and the decision could ultimately be left to a game of chance.

"For a race to be tied with over 12,000 votes counted is highly, highly unusual. I haven't seen a recount in this office in all my time here, two years as supervisor and four years as county clerk," Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins told ABC-7.

If the recount leads to another tie, the decision would be left to a game of chance. The draw of a card or flip of a coin would decide the state representative for District 37.

"That is a little bit disconcerting because you work so hard and I want so much to serve our community and the state of New Mexico that a flip of a coin could determine that, but that's how it has to happen," Ferrary told ABC-7.

"In some ways I hope the recount will yield the same result. For either of us, were the recount to come out differently it might cause some concern of why is it different from the original count?" McMillan said.

Ellins said he doesn't think a deck of cards or a coin will be necessary.

"I don't think it will wind up as a tie. I have to think one of the candidates is going to pick up a vote or two in the recount, but that's a supposition on my part," he said.

Both candidates agree this outcome proves every vote counts.

"I only needed one vote. My opponent only needed one vote. We're both thinking what if I'd knocked on one more door or made one more phone call," McMillan said.

The votes will be counted again on Dec. 3.

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