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State House races could be heading for a recount
None fall within the automatic recount margin, but two Democrats and a Republican are within striking distance -- and provisional ballots could make a big difference
This story is part of a special series.

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M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:

Several Statehouse races could hang on the provisional ballots that Ohio’s boards of elections won’t even begin counting until Saturday.  WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the impact of election results that begin coming in long after Election Day.

SCHULTZE: Provisional counts, then maybe a recount

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SCHULTZE: Abridged Provisional counts, then maybe a recount

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Ohio’s Democrats launched a fundraising appeal late last week to help with recounts in two races for the Ohio House of Representatives. 

For now, both of those races are beyond the threshold Ohio sets for automatic recounts – a margin of one-half of one percent.

The closest to that threshold is the 7th state House district in southern and eastern Cuyahoga County. Republican Mike Dovilla holds a 305-vote lead over Democrat Matt Patton out of the nearly 54,000 votes cast. About 2,000 more votes cast in the district are what’s called “provisional,” meaning there are questions about addresses or other issues – and meaning they won’t be counted until Saturday at the earliest.

Cuyahoga leans Democratic, though the GOP-dominated apportionment board redrew the lines of Dovilla’s district  to include predominantly Republican areas.  Democratic spokesman Jerod Kurtz says that makes even being close a victory of sorts.

“No one expected us to actually be within range of actually picking up seats following redistricting. The Republicans did everything they could to rig the system, and draw these lines, so we are in a very strong spot here, and we are looking forward to making sure every vote is counted.”

Another district where Democrats smell a recount is the 98th, which covers all of Tuscarawas County and a good chunk of Holmes County. Republican Al Landis has a 270-vote lead over Democrat Josh O’Farrell, with some 2,000 provisionals outstanding there. Both of those counties went for Mitt Romney for president Tuesday – Holmes by a 3-1 margin. Still, Kurtz says provisionals all over are likely to lean Democratic.

But if he’s wrong, Democrats race their own risk of a recount. Democrat Nick Barborak is ahead of Craig Newbold by fewer than 400 votes in Columbiana County – which also went strongly or Romney.

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