116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DAVENPORT — Nearly a month after Election Day, a Republican was declared the victor in the tight House District 81 election in Scott County.
Democrat Craig Cooper congratulated Republican Luana Stoltenberg on winning the district by 11 votes after a recount was completed.
This is the second time the winner of the race flipped after recounts — the first after an auditor-run recount and this time after a candidate-picked board reviewed the ballots.
The three-member board signed off on the recount Wednesday after more than a week of sorting and counting. The final tally: 5,073 votes for Stoltenberg to 5,062 for Cooper.
With the result, Republicans will hold a 64-36 majority in the House.
Jim Hancock, a former Scott County Democratic supervisor who both candidates agreed would be on the recount board, said he was “100 percent comfortable” with the results the board submitted to the county auditor.
The recount board's count is the final count, Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins said. The result now goes to the Scott County Board of Supervisors and state elections board to certify.
The recount board allowed 45 fewer absentee ballots than the machine recount.
Stoltenberg said overall the recount went well but that the process needs "more defined lines and boundaries and a few more defined rules so candidates know where they stand."
Cooper, asked if he would challenge the recount, said, “That's a better question for later."
"There were 31 votes that just simply disappeared," Cooper said of the discrepancy between the recount's vote tallies for him and the auditor's. "I have no idea whether the ballots weren't run or whether the ballots never existed."
The state election board has certified the Nov. 8 election results except in Scott, Linn and Cerro Gordo counties, where recounts in legislative races were undertaken.