At the end of the night on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson found himself 18 votes down in the race for his District 4 seat with just over 43,000 votes cast, but he’s not going away without a fight.
In fact, Branson didn’t waste any time making a recount request, which he made to Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt early in the day on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
“I’m going to fight it until the damn fat lady sings,” an irritated Branson said the day after the election.
A great many political observers – including Branson – were surprised when the Election Day vote totals were all in and the two-term commissioner came up just short in his race against teacher Mary Beth Murphy, a Democrat. The race was as close as it gets with four precincts left to report when Branson left his election watch party on Tuesday night to drive home.
He said he got a call from fellow Republican Guilford County Commissioner Hank Henning, who had seen the final results. Henning wished to offer his condolences over the outcome, but, instead, Henning ended up being the bearer of bad news.
Branson, who had not seen the results from the last four precincts, asked Henning if he had lost. Branson said Henning responded, “I hate to be the one that tells you …”
Henning said he called Collicutt on Tuesday night but could not get him on the phone.
In the morning, Branson made the recount request, which he has a right to under state election laws
Branson does have another hope as well for keeping his seat. Absentee ballots that arrived on election day or after up until Nov. 12 will be counted and, also, any provisional ballots in that race still need to be adjudicated by the Guilford County Board of Elections. With a difference of only 18 votes, those could make a difference, however, in this election votes mailed in have tended to favor Democrats.