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‘A win’s a win’: Kentucky lawmaker wins statehouse seat by a single vote

People vote at the Carnegie/Eva Farris Education Center in Covington, Ky., on Nov. 6. (Meg Vogel/Cincinnati Enquirer/AP)

Have you ever thought a single vote doesn’t really count?

Well, you’d be wrong — at least, if you voted in Kentucky.

More specifically, in Kentucky’s state House District 13, where Democratic candidate Jim Glenn beat the incumbent, Republican Rep. D.J. Johnson, by a very narrow margin: 6,319 people voted for Glenn, and 6,318 voters cast their ballots for Johnson.

To put it another way: “I won by one vote,” Glenn said in a phone interview Friday with The Washington Post. “But a win’s a win — whether it’s by one vote or 1,000.”

Johnson could not immediately be reached for comment by The Post, but he told the Associated Press that he had not been asking friends and family members whether they neglected to go to the polls.

“If someone came up and said that to me, I certainly wouldn’t hold them guilty,” he said. “I have fought that urge to second-guess. I know I ran the best campaign I could.”

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No one knows who cast the crucial vote in the 13th District, but Glenn said more than two dozen people had approached him since Nov. 6 “and told me that they were the one vote that I won by.”

Mary Beverly Goetz, from Owensboro, Ky., said she knows that one vote does indeed matter — because she cast her vote for Glenn.

The 76-year-old Democrat, who said she is disabled and uses a walker, noted that she always votes in major elections and that even though her health issues have kept her from the polls in recent years, she has still voted, using absentee ballots. Goetz said she mailed in her ballot a couple of weeks before the election.

“I voted for Jim Glenn, because I believed he would be the right person to be in office,” Goetz told The Post, adding, “I’m glad he won, and I’d vote for him again.”

Glenn represented the district from 2006 to 2017, when Johnson won the seat. This month, Glenn reclaimed it.

The votes were recanvassed Thursday, meaning that the votes from machines were reviewed and upheld by the county’s board of elections, and the state’s board of elections will meet next week to approve the results, according to the Associated Press.

But Johnson said it’s not over yet.

“It went as expected. I didn’t expect any changes,” he told about the recanvassing. “At this point, we’re still in the process, step one. I’m meeting with the team, talking with them to consider a recount.”

Other close elections have similarly made national headlines.

Late last year, a political battle played out between Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican David Yancey for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

As The Post reported on Jan. 10:

On Election Day, Yancey appeared to win the race by 10 votes, but a recount put Simonds ahead by one vote. The next day, a three-judge recount court ruled that a single ballot that had been discarded during the recount should be tallied for Yancey. The race was tied with each candidate having 11,608 votes.
A state election official broke the tie last Thursday by picking Yancey’s name out of a stoneware bowl, a random drawing required under Virginia law.
Since then, the state’s political class waited for Simonds to decide whether to seek a second recount, a question she resolved at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday when she tweeted: “It is with great disappointment that I am conceding the election to David Yancey.”

Read more:

An election was decided by picking a name out of a bowl. Here is the bowl’s journey.

It’s time for Shelly Simonds to concede

Democrat who lost random drawing for Va. House seat concedes to Republican