ELKHART — Jesse Bohannon, who narrowly lost in voting for the District 48 Indiana House seat, isn't ready to give up the fight just yet.
He trailed victor Doug Miller by a mere 95 votes in the Republican primary for the post and, in light of the close finish, he's mulling his options, possibly with an eye to contesting the results.
"I am reserving my right to pursue any legal options I have at this point," he said Wednesday, May 7, a day after the primary vote. He went on: "I've not conceded this race yet."
He didn't spell out any possible actions, or even say action is definitively in the offing. But he indicated he's looking into such things as whether a recount may be done in such circumstances given the close margin. He also noted that Elkhart County implemented a new voting style for the first time Tuesday and cited the memory card inadvertently left behind at one of the voting sites during counting late Tuesday night containing results of 155 voters.
"I'm not making an allegations. I don't think anybody did anything intentionally wrong," said Bohannon, who stressed his conservative principles in the race. He just has a few questions he's still sorting through.
Miller, for his part, said he's moving on. "My reaction is the voters of Elkhart County have spoken. The process works and I'm moving on," he said.
Miller won the GOP race in the District 48 contest with 2,076 votes, trailed by Bohannon, who garnered 1,981 votes. Adam Bujalski finished third in the three-man race with 986 votes. With no Democrats running yet, Tuesday's victor appears to have the inside track to victory in the November general election.
The results from Tuesday are still considered unofficial and won't formally be deemed official until a planned meeting of Elkhart County election officials on May 16. The state then has to certify the results and only then, according to Bohannon, would any sort of appeal or action be potentially feasible.
As for the 155 votes, Elkhart County Clerk Wendy Hudson said the memory card containing the pertinent data was accidentally left behind inside one of the touch-screen voting machines at the North Side Gym voting location in Elkhart. When poll workers retrieved it Tuesday night, hours after the polling site had closed, they found that the seal securing the memory card had not been tampered with, Hudson said.
Bohannon noted that he generated more votes in voting on Tuesday, 1,822 to 1,766 for Miller. Early voting ahead of Tuesday generated the margin helping Miller win.
District 48 covers northwestern Elkhart County, including northern Elkhart. Rep. Tim Neese, the incumbent, isn't seeking re-election.