Democrat Jessica Miranda trailed incumbent Republican Jonathan Dever in Ohio's 28th Ohio House District on election night, but with the provisional ballots counted this week she leads the race by 56 votes out of nearly 55,000 cast.
The minuscule lead of 0.10 percent means there will be an automatic recount. Hamilton County Elections Director Sherry Poland said the recount will begin at 8:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 30. She said she expected it to be completed the same day.
Dever, a lawyer and business owner from Madeira, was shooting for a third term in the legislature. He faced an opponent in Miranda whom most political observers thought was little known outside of the Winton Woods School District, where she is president of the school board.
But she ran an aggressive and well-funded campaign. It became evident that Dever and the Republican House Caucus was taking her seriously when they began running TV attack ads against her.
Two years ago, Dever defeated Miranda by 15 percentage points.
It would be extremely rare if an automatic recount changed the certified results of an election.
In a written statement issued by her campaign, Miranda said she is "humbled and honored by the trust that voters have put in our campaign. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
"Now it's on to Columbus to fight for better education, higher paying jobs and protecting health care for all Ohioans,'' Miranda said.
Dever's loss could have an impact on who the Republicans in the Ohio House elect as speaker for the next term. Dever was a backer for former House Speaker Larry Householder, who is challenging current House Speaker Ryan Smith. Smith became speaker after Cliff Rosenberger resigned earlier this year in the middle of an FBI investigation.
Under Ohio election law, a number of ballots equaling five percent of those cast in the race – in this case, about 2,750 – will be pulled by the board of elections for hand-counting.
The ballots, which are hand-counted, are then matched to the scanned count of the same ballots. If the two numbers match, the rest of the ballots in the district will be scanned to give the final count. If the two numbers don't match, another five percent of the ballots are pulled out and the process begins again.
The only other race in Hamilton County where there was a chance of a recount was for a common pleas court judgeship.
On election night, Democratic challenger Thomas Beridon held a 481 vote lead over incumbent Republican Curt Hartman.
After the provisionals and late absentees were counted, Beridon's lead grew 2,137 votes – well outside the margin for an automatic recount. If Hartman were to want a recount, he would have to pay for it.