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Vote tallies unchanged after recounts in two NM House races

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Recounts triggered by close vote margins in two New Mexico legislative primary election contests showed no change — not even a single vote — from Election Day tallies.

As a result, Democrat Mary Hotvedt of Pinos Altos was declared the winner today of a House District 38 primary race, while Republican Vicki Chavez of Deming claimed victory in a House District 32 primary contest.

The results were certified today by the State Canvassing Board, after county clerks in four southwest New Mexico counties conducted the recount last Friday.

Hotvedt won her race by a 29-vote margin over Karen Whitlock of Mimbres, with a total of 3,493 ballots cast. She will face GOP candidate Rebecca Dow in the November general election.

Meanwhile, Chavez will face off in this fall against Democrat Candie Sweetser after defeating Scott Chandler by 16 votes, in a contest in which 1,768 registered voters cast ballots.

The two recounts were triggered by a state law that calls for an automatic, state-paid recount if the vote margin between the top two vote-getters in a legislative race is less than 1 percent.

Chandler, who was the target of a hard-hitting mailers sent out by an outside Super PAC in the run-up to the June 7 primary election, had asked the state Supreme Court to delay the recount until more information about how it would be conducted could be turned over.

After the Supreme Court rejected the request and he lost in the recount, Chandler called this week on Secretary of State Brad Winter’s office to investigate perceived irregularities in his race.

But there was no discussion of such an investigation at today’s State Canvassing Board meeting, which lasted for only about five minutes.

All other primary election results had already been certified by the canvassing board — made up of Gov. Susana Martinez, Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels and Winter — at a previous meeting.