The Republican primary for Kansas Treasurer remains razor tight, but candidates will have to decide whether or not to seek a recount before results are finalized in three of the state’s biggest counties.
State Rep. Steven Johnson, an Assaria Republican, is vying with state Sen. Caryn Tyson, a Parker Republican, for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Treasurer Lynn Rogers in November.
Johnson led the race by 369 votes as of Monday afternoon after 13 of Kansas’ 105 counties had certified their election results.
The results of the primary are likely to come down to the more than 24,000 provisional ballots statewide, many of which have not yet been counted across the state. Three of Kansas’ four largest counties — Johnson, Sedgwick and Shawnee — are not scheduled to count their provisional ballots and certify their results until next Monday, Kansas Director of Elections Bryan Caskey told reporters Monday.
“Our office proposed legislation to fix this anomaly and it did not pass in the most recent legislative session,” Caskey said.
Counties hold their canvasses after the election to determine which provisional ballots can legally be counted, count them and certify their results. Under Kansas law candidates that request a recount are responsible for putting up a bond to pay for the cost of the recount. If the candidate requesting the recount wins following the recount, there will be no action taken on the bond and the counties will bear the cost.
Requests for recount must be made by 5 p.m. Friday.
J.R. Claeys, a state senator and spokesman for Johnson’s campaign, said the campaign was watching the provisional ballots closely and haven’t seen major changes.
“We’re not seeing the type of consistency that we saw in the results in 2018 so anything can happen but we can’t have the Republican going in at a disadvantage to a Democratic incumbent in the race so our candidate is proceeding currently as if we have won the race,” said Claeys, who had managed Republican Kris Kobach’s 2018 campaign for governor.
Kobach, who won a historically close primary against Gov. Jeff Colyer to secure the GOP nomination, went on to lose to Democrat Laura Kelly.
In a statement, Tyson said she was grateful for the support across the state.
“We are watching as each county updates their vote totals,” she said without saying whether she would seek a recount.
At the end of the initial count in the treasurer race on election night last week, the candidates were split by less than 1%, which triggered an automatic enhanced audit of the election under a new state law. Each county to hand count 10% of its precincts to ensure the counts accuracy.
No serious irregularities have emerged so far, Caskey said.