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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published November 03 2010

Fargo District 45 candidates have mixed feelings about heading for automatic recount

FARGO – State House candidates in District 45 who are likely headed for an automatic recount have mixed feelings this morning.

Andrew Marschall, a Republican who was eight votes behind in unofficial results Tuesday, said he’s on “pins and needles” today.

Ed Gruchalla, the Democratic incumbent who thought he lost Tuesday night until absentee ballot results came in, said he’s “optimistic, but not overly right now.”

Gruchalla received 25.4 percent of votes, or 1,930, compared to Marschall’s 1,922, or 25.3 percent, in unofficial results.

Gruchalla had left the celebration party the Democrats held at the Ramada last night thinking he lost, and then received a call from another legislator that he took the lead after absentee ballots were included.

“Good thing I don’t have false teeth, because I think they would have fallen out,” Gruchalla said of his reaction.

On Tuesday night, Marschall thought he won and called his friends and relatives to give them the news.

“I was quite upset with it last night, but this is a new day and we’ve got to press on here,” Marschall said. “We’ve got to make sure all votes were counted.”

District 45 includes portions of Fargo north of 12th Avenue North and communities to the north, such as Harwood, Reiles Acres and North River.

Cass County Auditor Mike Montplaisir said the county canvassing board meets Monday to count any absentee ballots that were postmarked Monday but arrived late.

He said he doesn’t have many absentee ballots from District 45, so he anticipates the race will head to an automatic recount.

The state canvassing board meets Nov. 16 to certify the election results, said Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

After that, a recount would be held in Cass County.

Meanwhile, another district in Fargo could be headed for a recount if the candidate requests one.

In the District 21 state House race, the margin between Democrat Steve Zaiser and Republican Rachel Disrud was 0.74 percent in unofficial results.

Zaiser had 1,503 votes to Disrud’s 1,460 votes.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter

Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590