Republican Lesli Gooch’s campaign called for a recount on Wednesday in California’s 31st district congressional race, in which she finished a close third behind Democrat Pete Aguilar, losing by just 209 votes.
According to the San Bernardino Sun, it was Redlands Tea Party Patriots board member John Berry who called for the recount on Gooch’s behalf, saying he was a Gooch supporter and that Aguilar’s policies could be “damaging.”
“Basically, I would be doing all of America a favor if I knocked Pete Aguilar out of the race for Congress,” he said in the report.
Paul Chabot, a Republican businessman, already locked up the first-place finish in the district by at least 5,000 votes. In California primaries, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation, so the Gooch campaign is trying to ensure that no Democrats make it to the next round. According to Roll Call, that is exactly what happened in 2012, when two Republicans won the primary in a district Barack Obama carried by 57 percent.
“We have been in consultation with campaign attorneys and polling data experts over the past several days,” Gooch campaign manager Jeff Stinson said in a statement. “They feel a recount is warranted and have identified the precincts that will be recounted.”
Aguilar, the current mayor of Redlands, said he was “disappointed” that the Gooch campaign called for the recount.
“I’m disappointed that Lesli Gooch and the Republican Party would challenge the results of this certified election,” he said in a statement. “I was declared as a winner in the election and I expect that the final result will confirm the same thing.”
County Registrar Michael Scarpello said the results would probably not change much, save for a few votes either way.
“We did a one percent manual audit, as required by law, and we found no anomalies. We did a 100 percent audit of our machine counts; we found no anomalies. And we don’t expect to find any anomalies in this recount.”