Henry declares victory; Yarbro considers recount

Monday, August 9, 2010 at 2:43pm

Following the release of new figures Monday that show state Sen. Douglas Henry with an unofficial 13-vote advantage over challenger Jeff Yarbro, a recount appears to be the likely next turn in the dramatic conclusion to the Democratic primary for state senate District 21.

A statement released by the Yarbro campaign Monday afternoon said, “A recount appears to be in order,” stopping short of definitively saying whether a recount would be requested.

Earlier in the day, Kathryn Sasser, legal counsel for Yarbro, had said it was too premature to know whether the Yarbro campaign would ask for a recount but called the sudden change in voting figures “concerning.”

“It’s concerning any time there are varying tallies,” Sasser said. “So we want to make sure whatever number ends up, is the right and correct number.”

If the Yarbro camp does request a recount, it appears the Henry side wouldn’t object.

“We would not be opposed to a recount,” said Bob Thomas, Henry’s campaign finance chairman. “We want accuracy. We feel we have won, but if there’s any question about it, we certainly want to know that the final numbers are correct.

“We are confident in victory, but 13 votes is not a landslide,” Thomas added.

The dynamics of the razor-thin contest changed after the Davidson County Election Commission acknowledged Monday morning that it made an error by releasing absentee voting figures collected from a malfunctioning voting scanner. The problem was compounded when they re-released numbers that were tallied incorrectly and were still inaccurate.

The initial count on election night showed Yarbro with an 18-vote advantage. Those numbers were released even though the absentee voting figures were the product of a malfunctioning voting scanner, according to Davidson County Elections Administrator Ray Barrett.

Heading into the weekend, the count was revised following a hand count of the absentee ballots. New numbers showed Henry with a two-vote lead, with two outstanding provisional ballots still to be counted. Apparently, those figures were still wrong.

“It was just an honest error on some math on some people’s part,” Barrett said.

On Monday morning, Barrett unveiled recalculated numbers that showed Henry with a 15-vote lead. When factoring in two provisional ballots that were both awarded to Yarbro, the Henry lead unofficially stands at 13 votes.

No matter what actions the respective campaigns take, the election results will undergo an audit in the coming days, a normal procedure for all elections. Actual results won’t be certified until Aug. 23.

15 Comments on this post:

By: bruingeek on 8/10/10 at 7:03

"13 votes is not a landslide" ...neither is it a vote of confidence.

By: Funditto on 8/10/10 at 8:02

Is Henry even condident that he'll live through his term? He looks like he is at death's door (no offense). Why not retire and enjoy the golden years?

By: rbull on 8/10/10 at 8:28

The best qualifed candiate won even though he is up in age. Senator Henry has been a real statesman in the past and will continue to do so. Nobody should be denid the chance to serve just because of age and Funditto is wrong is suggesting that Senator Henry retire because he probably will not live through his term. So he doesn't live the entire time, the Governor can appoint a replacement, but Henry should be allowed to continue to serve and he should be the one to decide if he is not able or doesn't want to retire. The people of his Distridt have spoken and even though it was by a very small margin, Senator is the winner and should be allowed to serve the people of his District and the others should quit whinning and be a good loser.

By: FLeFew on 8/10/10 at 8:33


I can see it all now.

The Dem SEC will do to Henry what they did to Rosalind Kurita, and take the nomination away from this most loyal of Democrats.

The peoples vote doesn't count, just like in the California marriage case.

By: SRJ on 8/10/10 at 8:39

In response to Funditto's comment-

I have attended numerous events with Senator Henry. I can assure you, he is in better health than most 40 year olds. Senator Henry is still as sharp as a tack and is the most brilliant Man, on Capitol Hill.

By: SRJ on 8/10/10 at 8:51

We all know that Senator Henry enjoys the support of Republicans, Independents and Democrats. With that being said, many of Senator Henry's supporters voted in the Republican primary. The voter had to choose between voting for Henry or choosing a candidate for Governor. I believe that made a crucial difference. This race would have looked entirely different, had that not been a big factor.

By: Rocket99 on 8/10/10 at 9:27

Other than his years in office, why is Senator Henry the best qualified?

Neither agreeing or disagreeing. Just asking the question.

As far as the California vote, it was a direct violation of the US Constitution.

But then that's a different discussion.

By: Rocket99 on 8/10/10 at 9:29

I also think there should be a recount so the matter can be put to rest and leave no doubt.

By: Funditto on 8/10/10 at 9:51

I'm glad to hear Henry is in good health. While I voted for Yarbro, I feel Henry will still be a good advocate.

By: JoeJr on 8/10/10 at 10:02

"As far as the California vote, it was a direct violation of the US Constitution."

-- According to a lone federal judge. This case is destined to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court's door, and, well, we'll see what happens then.

With that out of the way, back to Henry/Yarbro ...

I'm one of those folks who's sported "Republican for Henry" bumper stickers in the past. Indeed, the only times in my life that I've voted in Democratic primaries was to support Doug Henry. Throughout his career, Henry had delivered impecable constituent services (he spent many hours helping me personally with a property matter involving TDOT a few years back), and no one in the Senate has his depth of knowlege concerning state budget matters. If one is to make an argument as to who is the better qualified candidate, Henry wins hands down.

From my personal vantage point - and for the record I no longer live in Henry's district - Yarbro's primary campaign pitch is that (a) he's not Doug Henry and (b) he's just left-wing enough to appeal to the Green Hills granola-eaters who drive SUVs to Whole Foods whilst worshipping at the alter of Al Gore. Henry has received support from a cross-section of his district (Republicans, blue-collar sorts, and bluebloods) for his whole career, while Yarbro's support is confined mainly to Yellow Dogs and "Yes We Can!" yuppies. For what it's worth, I'd rather have the guy who can appeal to the most folks in his district representing me.

SRJ is right: If there'd not been a contested GOP primary for governor, Henry would've won by a comfortable margin.

By: FLeFew on 8/10/10 at 10:24

From a proud French-American!

Please don't complain about Democrats crossing over or Republicans crossing over to vote in the other primary. That is the law in Tennessee, and the Democrats had control of the legislature long enough to change it if they had wanted.

As for California, the judge simply changed a dictionery definition. He might as well said that "from this day forward, a daisy is a rose." Both smell sweet.

There are marriages (man & woman, from the beginning of time) and domestic contracts (man or woman with a same sex partner in many states, including California). They both accomplish the same thing.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 8/10/10 at 12:26

rBull, SRJ & JoeJr are correct. Sen. Henry is by far the best legislator on capitol hill. I like JoeJr have had the pleasure of working with Sen Henry's staff on State matters that I couldn't solve by myself. They set the meetings with the appropriate commissioners and let me know in no uncertain terms that if I didn't receive the result that I needed that they would take the matter to the next level! You just don't get any better service than that. But that is only a side benefit of having the most respected man in the legislature as your representative, the real benefit is to have a moderate that shares the values and needs of the people in his district. If the Congress had more statesmen in it instead of people who pander to their party's fringe element then we would have a much better run country. Rocket99, to answer your question, because we know what he stands for. He say's what he means and means what he says. Who knows about his challenger? We might have elected another poser like you did in Washington.

By: SRJ on 8/10/10 at 1:16

To FLeFew...

Look, I am not complaining about the crossover vote. You are correct , the law requires a person to choose either a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot. My point was, we all know the reason that this election was so close. A large number of voters in the 21st district chose to cast a vote in the Republican Primary. We can debate the reasons why, all day. However, we all know why this was the case. The fact remains.... Douglas Henry would have enjoyed a comfortable lead over Jeff Yarbro, under different circumstances.

To JoeJr.....

You said it best. Jeff Yarbro had a very limited appeal and could have put that seat into play, for the Republicans.

By: SRJ on 8/10/10 at 1:26

I know that Senator Henry works very hard to improve the lives of all people. He is a man of intense character and integrity. We are fortunate to have him fighting for us on Capitol Hill. As the Senator often says, He has a lot more to do, for the people of Tennessee.

By: sharko20 on 8/10/10 at 1:51

Yarbro is a progressive. A supporter of Obamacare and any other big spending liberal agenda. Like many others in the district, my family voted in the Republican primary. I do question now due to the outcome of this race if we shouldn't have crossed over and voted for Henry to avoid to possibility of Yarbro.