Tuesday the provisional ballots were counted in House District 38, the closest state house race in the state. Debbie Wood emerged with a win by just seven votes over Todd Rauch in the Republican primary runoff for the open seat.
“Sad to see this journey come to end, but we couldn’t be more proud of our efforts, our team, our voters and our volunteers,” Rauch said on social media. “Thank you, truly, from the bottom of our hearts. This is not the end. Hold your heads up high and be proud that we kept this race within 6 votes despite being an unknown, first time candidate who was outspent 3 to 1. We are proud!”
On election night, multiple media outlets declared Rauch the winner. When both candidates went to bed that night the media was reporting that Rauch was the winner.
Over the night however as all the totals came in the race became much tighter. By the time all of the voters were counted, the numbers showed that Wood had a slight lead over Rauch. Wood had 2,165 votes to Rauch’s 2,159 votes. That was just 50.07 percent to 49.93 percent, a difference of only six votes.
On Tuesday that provisional ballots for Lee and Chambers Counties were counted. Wood reportedly grew her margin to seven votes.
In a general election that small a margin would trigger a recount; but this was a primary.
“There are no recount provisions that apply to a runoff or a primary election,” Secretary of State’s office spokesman John Bennett told the Opelika-Auburn News. “Essentially, the only place we could get to where we might look back at those results would be if a candidate said they wanted to get a recount done, and they would have to pay for the cost of that recount to take place.”
Debbie Wood said on Facebook, “A BIG THANK YOU to all who showed continuous support throughout the primary and runoff elections! I couldn’t have done it without you!”
Wood is from Valley. She is a Chambers County Commissioner. She is a past President of the Alabama Association County Commissions for AL. She currently serves on the National Association of County Commissions (NACO) in Washington.
Wood ran unsuccessfully for this office in 2014, losing to Isaac Whorton (R-Valley). Whorton ran for a judgeship instead of seeking re-election.
Wood will face Brian McGee (D) in the general election on November 6.
(Original reporting by the Opelika Auburn News contributed to this report.)