BEND, OR -- A recount is scheduled for Thursday, to determine the Republican nominee for Oregon's House District 53 race. Redmond realtor Jack Zika had an 11-vote lead on Primary night. But, after the Deschutes County Clerk's office counted contested and write-in ballots, his lead over activist Bend Schimmoller was slashed. "We've learned that every vote counts," Zika tells KBND News, "I'm ahead of my opponent by two votes." That incredibly tight margin triggered an automatic recount.
Zika remains confident he'll be the last one standing, "I think that I have won. As of now, I'm the winner of the election. Usually, these computers are really good at what they do, so we're not expecting a big spread. We're just expecting it to affirm the victory." Zika says he knows he'll be running in the November General election, "I won the Independent vote. So, for the write-ins, for the Independents, I got the most, over Eileen [Kiely] and then Ben. So, once I get the GOP nomination, I'll also get the Independent nomination. I'm grateful for both of those, and I appreciate everyone that voted for me."
The winner in the GOP primary will face Democrat Eileen Kiely in November, for the seat currently held by retiring State Representative Gene Whisnant.
In the May primary, 47,426 ballots were cast in Deschutes County, with 36.55% turnout. Zika received 3,771 votes to Schimmoller's 3,769. There were 30 write-ins.