Braddy wins by one vote in recount
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

March 20, 2004 -- Martin Braddy's margin of victory in the race for district attorney over Heath Hyde was close when all the votes had been counted Tuesday, March 9. The addition of votes coming from provisional ballots two days later narrowed a five-vote lead to four.

With only four votes separating the candidates, Heath Hyde asked for a complete recount of all ballots and all boxes in the hope of finding a handful of ballots that might have been miscounted that would change the outcome of the election.

Ballots from all the voting boxes in the three counties that make up the 8th Judicial District were counted by hand, beginning Thursday afternoon in Delta County. Ballots were counted Friday morning in Franklin County and Friday afternoon in Hopkins County.

The closest win in county history became even closer when the recounted totals from each county were added together. Martin Braddy's total changed to 2,378 and the count for Heath Hyde was changed to 2,377 -- a one-vote win for Braddy.

"I'm still in shock," Hyde said late Friday. "The recount just didn't work out."

Hyde attributed the loss to low voter turnout in both Hopkins and Franklin counties and a large turnout in Braddy's native Delta County.

Martin Braddy, while hoping to remain the leader in the two-man race, said there were some anxious moments, but he is obviously happy with the outcome.

"I am extremely satisfied with the outcome of the recount," Braddy said Friday evening. "I fully anticipated it would move some [votes], but I didn't realize it would move back and forth as much as it did. It's as close as we all felt it was going to be all along. It just goes to show that every vote counts."

The apparent successful district attorney-elect said he hoped the recount would allow the many dedicated workers for both candidates in the campaign to get back to their routines.

"Everybody that put so much time and effort, and heart and sole into this can have some resolution on it and go on with the rest of it," he said. "The process worked. It worked properly and it is one of those situations in which you see the American Democratic process work at its finest, and so many people gave so much of their time to work the elections."

The recounts were conducted by the Democratic Parties in the respective counties and, in Hopkins County, Joe Minter, county chairman said he had never seen a race so close. Both candidates are winners, he said, but only one gets elected.

After learning of the recount results Friday afternoon, Braddy said he had been in contact with Heath Hyde to thank him for the way the campaign was handled.

"It was hard-fought all the way but we stayed respectful to one another," Braddy said. "I think both campaigns set a standard of positive campaigning in the district which, hopefully, will leave a legacy there. You campaign on who you are and what you did. You don't say negative things about the other side."

After trailing by four votes in the primary, Hyde sought to find enough votes through the recount to change the election outcome. Following his one-vote loss, Hyde indicated he would not challenge the vote further.

"I don't foresee any further contest [of the election] at this point," Hyde said.

Martin Braddy is now virtually assured the district attorney's office in January since he will not have a Republican challenger on the November general election ballot.

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