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District 26 Seat Flips Due to Secretary of State Error
Friday, November 11, 2022


It turns out District 26 is not true blue after all.

It’s been determined that Republican Jack Nelsen of Jerome has beaten Democrat Karma Metzler Fitzgerald of Shoshone by the narrowest of margins for District 26’s House Seat B.

Nelsen beat Fitzgerald by 83 votes with a winning percentage of 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.

The Jerome County Elections Director said his office noticed a disparity between what the county reported and the results the Secretary of State published the day after the election. The mistake was found in 694 absentee ballots that had been overlooked by the state. Nelsen won 580 of those ballots and Fitzgerald, 114.

That gave Nelsen 7,916 votes to Fitzgerald's 7,833.

Fitzgerald might have overcome that had she gotten 84 more votes in Blaine County. Although she beat Nelsen 6,549 to 3,110 in Blaine County, she received 337 fewer votes than Rep. Ned Burns and 387 fewer votes than newly elected state senator Ron Taylor.

Results have not been certified official yet.

"It's a little surreal," said Nelsen. "Results are still preliminary."

Fitzgerald, who ha hoped to push legislation for afterschool programs and other educational programs, said that she will look at the numbers and ask for a recount if it looks warranted.

“I’m devastated but I will find a way to serve no matter what. It’s what I do,” she said.

The change also narrowed the margin of victory in the other two District 26 races but didn't change the outcome. Burns' margin of victory over Republican Mike Pohanka, or instance, narrowed to fewer than 40 votes, but Taylor retained more than 500 votes out of about 16,000 cast in his win over Republican Rep. Laurie Lickley.

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