Races for two open seats in the state assembly came down to a handful of votes in unofficial results, with absentee ballots turning the tide in one.
Barbara Gleim and Jason Kelso exchanged the lead in the race for the Republican nomination for the 199th Legislative District several times as results came in Tuesday evening. Unofficial results initially listed Kelso as the winner with all precincts reporting with 2,955 votes to Gleim’s 2,926, a difference of 29 votes.
Then, the absentee ballots were added. With 114 absentee votes, Gleim more than doubled up on Kelso’s 56 absentee votes, bringing the final total to 3,040 votes for Gleim and 3,011 for Kelso, with 19 write-ins yet to be counted in unofficial results.
“I’m a little bit shocked both ways right now,” Kelso said, adding that he went through a range of emotions as he went from being up by 29 to being down by 29.
He said he “obviously can’t concede,” given the close margin, and will wait to see if there’s a recount or if there would be a second look at absentee ballots.
Still, he was thankful for the volunteers who helped him throughout what he called a positive campaign conducted by both candidates.
“I had a very good experience throughout the whole thing,” he said. “I knew it was an uphill battle throughout the campaign.”
"As we all await confirmation of the outcome of the election for the 199th District, I’d like to congratulate Jason Kelso and his team for an extremely professional and hard-fought race," Gleim said in a released statement Wednesday. "Both teams worked very hard and with integrity. We were able to keep the race respectful to the voters and focused on the issues, and for that I am extremely proud.
"I had the support of an amazing group of volunteers and want to thank all of my many supporters. I am humbled by their confidence and their generosity."
Sherwood McGinnis is the only Democrat on the ballot for the 199th.
The two were seeking the nomination for the seat left vacant by Rep. Stephen Bloom, who ran unsuccessfully for the 13th Congressional District nomination.
The race to replace Rep. Will Tallman in the 193rd Legislative District came down to a single vote in unofficial results on the state’s website.
With 100 percent of the precincts in Adams and Cumberland counties reporting, Barry Cockley had 1,783 votes to Torren Ecker’s 1,782. John Wardle, the only Cumberland County candidate, finished third with 1,536 votes, and Andrew Myers fourth with 1,404 votes.
Democrat Matthew Nelson ran unopposed in his primary.
Check back with Cumberlink.com for continuing coverage of the primary election.