Cass County sheriff candidates were head-to-head as the votes were counted Tuesday night, but in the end Cass County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Tom Burch squeezed by with a 45-vote lead, apparently making him the county's next sheriff.
Burch outpolled Wayne Tennis, the Walker police chief. Burch had 6,201 votes or 50.08 percent and Tennis had 6,156 votes or 49.71 percent,a .37 percent difference. There were 26 write-in votes.
"I'm feeling really good today," Burch said Wednesday afternoon. "Obviously, it's a relief that it's over and that it was a positive outcome for me. It was really close, you never plan for that. We worked real hard and talked to a lot of people and I'm thankful it went our way and I'm looking forward to the future."
In an interview Wednesday morning, Tennis said he is looking at requesting a recount of the vote.
"Right now I'm in limbo and I don't know what is going on," Tennis said. Tennis said one town claims he is the winner and another town claims that Burch is the winner. "I'm new at this, I've never run for anything before.\
"I banged on so many doors and I have a lot of good supporters out there and I can't let them down or let myself down. I still have hope (to be the next sheriff.) As soon as they are hand counted we'll have to live with whatever the outcome. I'm all about making a difference in people's lives."
Cass County Auditor/Treasurer Sharon Anderson said state statute on a required recount states that a race must be less than one-half of one percent of the total votes counted for that office.
Anderson said there were 12,383 people who voted in the sheriff's race. She said the one-half of one percent of the total votes would mean the sheriff's race must be within a 61-vote or less to qualify for a recount that would be paid by the state, not the candidate.
Anderson said if Tennis wants to request a recount, he must do so within seven days after the canvassing board meets, which will be at 10 a.m. Monday.
Anderson said she has had an inquiry from Tennis' family about the recount process and she planned to communicate the process with both sheriff candidates Wednesday.
Burch said it wouldn't surprise him if there would be a recount.
"The votes have not been certified yet," said Burch. " I'll have to wait for the final word. The biggest thing when this all started was it wasn't a for sure thing, we had to work hard and we will continue to work hard. This shows that every vote counts and I'm proud of all the supporters as well as the entire county."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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