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Mantovani waits for provisional ballots in razor-thin county executive race

St. Louis County executive candidate Mark Mantovani was defeated by incumbenon Tuesday by about 1,100 votes. Mantovani has not yet decided whether to seek a recount, Aug. 8, 2018
File photo | David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio
Mark Mantovani trails St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger by about 1,100 votes.

Democrat Mark Mantovani is holding off on conceding the St. Louis County executive’s contest.

Mantovani is trailing St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger by less than 1 percentage point. While emphasizing that he’s not planning to contest the election, Mantovani says “uncounted and outstanding provisional ballots” exceed the difference between the two candidates. 

“Under those circumstances, it is probably necessary and appropriate to allow the normal statutory election procedures to be completed and allow the Election Board to certify the results according to its normal procedures,” a statement Wednesday from Mantovani’s campaign said. “Mark Mantovani has great confidence in the Election Board and its leadership and he does not wish to extend the uncertainty associated with the election, but customary election procedures have to be carried out — as they would be anyway.”  

“Mark also wanted to make certain that we thank our many loyal supporters who have stood with him to create change and improve the quality of government in St. Louis County,” the statement concluded.

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey said in an e-mail that update results posted on Wednesday afternoon "include 1,534 additional ballots (939 Democratic ballots) from last night’s count."

"These additional ballots were a mix of uncounted absentees and from several voting machines that were not closed by election judges on election night," Fey said. "All that remains now are about 400 provision and military/overseas ballots. We can’t count the military ballots until Friday and it will take us most of next week to adjudicate the provisional ballots."

Stenger declared victory on Wednesday morning, when unofficial totals showed the incumbent chief executive up by around 1,100 votes. As of Wednesday afternoon, Stenger's lead was 1,066 votes.

The Democratic primary between Stenger and Mantovani was bitter, with each candidate spending millions on attack ads. Whoever is declared the winner of the Stenger-Mantovani race will face Republican Paul Berry III in November’s general election, along with Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.