Castillo now over 50% by just 128 votes

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Here's the latest numbers on the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Susan Castillo has 350,501 votes - out of 700,746 cast. That puts her just 128 votes over 50%. Ron Maurer has 347,981 votes, and there are 2264 write-ins. That's a margin of 50.02% to 49.66%, or a gap of 0.36%. According to Jeff Mapes at the O, Linn, Morrow, Sherman, and Hood River counties still have outstanding ballots.

To recap: If the margin is over 0.20%, there's no state-funded recount. As long as Castillo stays over 50%, there won't be a runoff either.

And, as I've written before, this is a pretty tough spot for Ron Maurer. He could ask for - and pay for - a recount, in an attempt to discover whether there's any votes out there that were ignored by the ballot counting machines. (Say, if a voter circled a name, checked a bubble, or even filled in two bubbles while crossing one out.)

As Mapes notes, that's an expensive proposition and Maurer won't likely get his money back if the recount turns the race into a runoff -- only if it changes the leading candidate:

Maurer said he has asked Secretary of State Kate Brown to find out if the state would reimburse him if he paid for a recount and it led to a runoff. Would that count as reversing the result of an election, which leads to a reimbursement?

Personally, I think it should. If an election has a winner, but a recount says there's no longer a winner, that's a change in the outcome. (And if the law doesn't say that, it should. Bummer for Maurer.)

Mapes, however, notes one more curious thing...

Maurer said is concerned that the ballot received by Republicans in Lane County had a local measure on one side of the ballot in which the "no" oval lined up with the oval for Castillo's name on the other side. Is it possible that voters might have pressed hard enough on that "no" oval to leave a dimple or mark on the other side that counted as a vote for Castillo?

[SOS spokesman Don] Hamilton said his office hasn't had any reports of a problem involving Lane County ballots, besides what Maurer told him.

Maurer said that based on the answers he gets, he'll decide in the next few days whether to proceed with a recount. One possibility: start just in Lane County and see if that produces anything.

I'm fairly certain that you can't "start just in Lane County and see if that produces anything." I haven't looked it up anew - but I do recall learning that county-by-county recounts weren't an option in Oregon; unlike in Florida, where the Al Gore campaign made the tragic mistake of asking for recounts in only some counties.

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    This is a fascinating situation and it would be interesting to find out how rigorously the current counting system catches all the write-in votes. Ordinarily, of course, this doesn't matter, but in situations like this where a run-off is a possibility, it does.

    Of course, if two-candidate races for nonpartisan offices were automatically moved to the general election this wouldn't be an issue. It would also nearly double the number of people who would be making the choice.

    The legislature should consider making that change.

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      "Of course, if two-candidate races for nonpartisan offices were automatically moved to the general election this wouldn't be an issue."

      Jack, I don't understand what you mean. This could just as easily happen in November as in May.

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      As for automatically moving the decision to November when it's a two-person, that's an interesting idea.

      But of course, it's not actually a two-person race. You can vote for a write-in, too. And that can lead to a runoff - either featuring the two candidates (as in Stern/Starrett) or featuring, in rare cases, a write-in candidate.

      Given that, how would you handle a "two-person" race in November where no one gets a majority? Hold a December runoff? Give it to the plurality winner?

      Personally, I'd like to see IRV - but that's a bigger conversation for another day.

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    Wow this could still go either way.The fact that Maurer is this close speaks volumes about the crappy job Susan Castillo has done running our education department.

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    If it goes to a runoff in the general, the extremist candidate who favors guns in schools won't fare so well.

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      I have to agree that I don't think Maurer will fare as well in November if it goes to a run-off. I'll bet that there are a lot of people/organizations supporting Castillo who had no idea it was going to be this close. My guess is that they'll put more resources/effort into the race if it goes to the run-off.

      Plus, you're probably right that a pro-guns-in-school and "not a supporter of evolution" candidate won't fair as well in the general when there's higher turnout.

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    If Castillo wanted to create tons of good will, and shut up the far-right, she'd offer to pay for half of a recount with Maurer in an effort to be sure the will of the voters is honored. While there’s a small risk, chances are a recount wouldn't change the outcome, but it'd be a shrewd political move.

    And Mr. Vantress -- look at it this way. Even with such a "crappy" SPI as Castillo, you guys still couldn't get your man in. Do you want to know why? It’s because you’ve so soiled the conservative/Republican brand that it’s now more associated with lunatic talk-show hosts and a rabid hatred of government than it is with reasonable solutions and thoughtful leadership. You’ve sacrificed your party’s electability on the alter of ideological purity, and now all you can do is whine about it.

    But now there’s no one to blame but yourself.

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      Ummm -- "altar" not "alter"

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      Btw Randy Murphy what have any of the liberals done about getting down and putting theprivate sector back to work?Before you start mouthing off about republicans look at what the worthless do nothing progressives and their policies are doing about jobs and unemployment?Care to address that Randy?Sorry Randy the democrats in Oregon have done nothing to throw a tickertape parade over.How about all the left wing looney talk show hosts on 620 Kpoj like Carl Wolfson and friends,Thom Hartmann and Mike Malloy and his despicable foul language he uses on air Randy?

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