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Mayo nets 1 vote; number of write-in votes drops by 8

The results of the hand recount in the tight primary race for the second position on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners are in, and the only changes to the previous count are an additional vote for challenger Wayne Mayo and eight fewer write-in votes.

Mayo and first-place finisher Henry Heimuller, the incumbent county commissioner, will advance to the general election in November, County Elections Supervisor Pam Benham confirmed Wednesday, June 18.

Heimuller received 5,360 votes in the nonpartisan primary — not quite half of the 10,747 votes cast in the race, including 86 write-in votes for neither candidate. Mayo won 5,301 votes.

Although the 59-vote margin separating Heimuller and Mayo is narrow, it was the even narrower margin keeping Heimuller below the 50 percent mark he needed to exceed to win election at the primary that forced the automatic recount Monday and Tuesday, according to Benham.

The Columbia County Elections Department previously reported 94 write-in votes. But despite the reduction in the number of ballots counted as write-in votes, Heimuller remained 14 votes shy of an outright majority after the recount.

Three ballots in the recount were counted as overvotes after the recount, meaning they were marked for more than one option in the race. Four overvotes were recorded in the previous count.

The commissioner race will appear on Columbia County voters' general election ballots along with two other contested countywide elections: the runoff between Circuit Court Judge Jean Marie Martwick, who finished first in the May 20 primary, and challenger Cathleen Callahan; and the race for county clerk between longtime incumbent Betty Huser and challenger Brady Preheim.

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