By O. Kay Henderson (Radio Iowa)
The final batch of votes from two counties are in and Rob Sand appears to have narrowly won re-election as state auditor.
About 2000 votes from Warren County and around 800 votes from Des Moines County were added to the statewide tally on Thursday afternoon. Those unofficial results show Sand ahead of Republican challenger Todd Halbur by 2614 votes. Halbur will ask for a recount.
“We have seen human error, technical errors and maybe even some blatant, egregious errors that have happened to our votes across the state, so therefore I will ask for a recount of the state auditor’s race,” Halbur said.
Under state law, Halbur could ask for recounts in all 99 counties or ask for recounts in specific counties. He has until the end of next week to make the call.
“We will follow the process of the recount according to the rule of law outlines and after the recount, I believe myself and the voters of Iowa will feel confident in these results,” Halbur said. “I don’t feel confident in the results I’m seeing now in the unofficial results.”
Because Halbur’s vote tally is currently less than one percent behind Sand’s, all recounts would be paid for by taxpayers. If Sand is confirmed as the winner, he would be the only Democrat to win a statewide race in this year’s General Election.
Sand is an attorney. He previously worked in the Iowa Attorney General’s office as the lead prosecutor in public corruption cases. He handled the prosecution of Tommy Tipton, the former Multistate Lottery IT specialist found guilty of rigging Hot Lotto jackpots.
Halbur, Sand’s opponent, recently won a $1 million jury verdict in his lawsuit against the State of Iowa. Halbur claims he was fired as comptroller of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division after telling his bosses the agency was overcharging restaurants and retailers for liquor. Agency managers have said Halbur was fired for other reasons and lawyers for the state are reviewing whether to appeal the $1 million verdict.
Halbur ran a low-budget campaign. He was not among the Republican candidates who appeared at the bus tour events Governor Kim Reynolds hosted during the final weeks of the campaign.