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Edwards calls off recount in Berkeley County

June 05, 2002|by SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After three days of vote-by-vote counting and with only 11 precincts remaining, James L. Edwards called off the hand recount being conducted in Berkeley County for the Republican nomination for the county commission seat on Tuesday.

Just before noon, Edwards, of Hedgesville, W.Va., halted the recount because he said it didn't look like the numbers were going to change.

"It was hanging there about the same, and you can't beat a dead horse," he said. "It's over and done with."

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Edwards was trailing opponent Steve Teufel, of Martinsburg, by 10 votes when the recount wrapped up for the day on Monday, according to unofficial tallies.

When Edwards stopped the recount Tuesday, he had 788 votes while Teufel had 992 and Bill Alexander, of Martinsburg, had 938, according to unofficial tallies.

In comparison to the unofficial tallies from the canvass which ended on May 20, Edwards had gained three, Teufel one and Alexander none.

Teufel said the basement room where the recount was being held in the Berkeley County Courthouse got quiet after the announcement.

"I couldn't believe it. I don't think anyone could," he said.

Teufel said after the initial surprise, he was glad Edwards called off the recount.

"It was starting to get a little nerve-racking because it was starting to drag out and taking so long to get done," Teufel said.

On Tuesday, the county commissioners, who were doing the recount, had only counted one of the precincts in the Valley District, which is the district where Edwards received the majority of the votes during the May 14 primary election, according to election officials.

The Valley District covers Hedgesville, Tomahawk and Gerrardstown areas.

Teufel will vie against Democrat Butch Pennington, of Martinsburg, during the Nov. 5 general election.

Teufel said he started campaigning after the announcement on Tuesday.

Edwards said he will focus his attention on his auction business and will not consider running for office again.

The county has "kicked this rear end for the last time," he said.

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