Ballots continued to be reviewed by canvassers on Thursday as Democrat Gary McDowell awaits updated results in a very close race for Congress. A statement released on Thursday morning by the McDowell campaign said they are "calling for every vote in Michigan's first district to be counted and certified."
The numbers being reported by the Associated Press show that 2,297 votes, or seven-tenths of a percent, separate McDowell and his opponent, Dan Benishek. Benishek, the incumbent Republican, declared victory in the race early Wednesday morning.
Ballots for the race were cast at 528 precincts in the 16 counties that make up the 1st Congressional District. Each county has a Board of Canvassers that is counting and certifying ballots from Tuesday's election. That process is happening Thursday and may continue into Friday in some larger counties.
"We will let that process continue so that every vote is counted," said Zach Knowling, campaign manager for McDowell for Congress. The McDowell campaign will release another update after the canvassing work is completed.
In an interview with the Escanaba Daily Press on Wednesday morning, McDowell said, "It was a great race. Congratulations to Dan Benishek. Hope he does well." Later on Wednesday afternoon, he released a statement that said he plans to wait for a final count by canvassers before conceding the race. He wants to make sure an accounting is made for "absentee, provisional and military ballots."
In Michigan, if a candidate petitions for a recount, they must pay a ten dollar deposit per precinct. The entire deposit is refunded if the recount alters the results of the elections.
"Northern Michigan selected me to represent them in Washington," said Congressman Dan Benishek. "My focus over the next two years will be to continue to work on bringing jobs back to Northern Michigan, reigning in the spending and fighting to keep the American people alive for our children and grandchildren."
Back in 2010, McDowell, a former state lawmaker from Rudyard, fell to Benishek by 25,699 votes, or an 11 percent margin.