By: Joe D’Amore
UPDATE November 7, 2014 11AM.
Republican State Rep. Candidate Jim Kelcourse has been declared the winner of the three way race for the 1st Essex State Rep. seat this morning. by 11 votes after provisional ballots were counted in Newburyport and Salisbury. Kelcourse initially won the final vote on election night by 9 votes but his win hung in the balance yesterday as there were provisional ballots still to be counted.
“I’m really excited to get working for the district, there’s a lot that needs to be done,” Kelcourse said Friday morning after the provisional ballots confirmed his win. “I know Ed may call for a recount and that’s his right, I respect the process and I’m OK with that. I believe anything that can be done to make sure the will of the voters is correctly counted and recorded is a good thing,” Kelcourse said.
“I am confident that the vote total won’t chance,” Kelcourse added. “But I’m OK with whatever happens because we are ar talking about our most fundamental right, the right to vote and have that vote counted correctly.
Ed Cameron could not be reached for comment.
YESTERDAYS UPDATED 3:30 PM November 6, 2014
Though Confident, Jim Kelcourse State Rep. Win in Peril
With a sudden turn of events the 1st Essex House race and declared win by Republican James Kelcourse is now being challenged by a numbers game. In tight races, provisional ballots are used to help confirm a winner. A provisional ballot is created when a voter fills out a voting card by hand when he or she is not on the local voting roll. These ballots are not counted towards voting unless needed later and can be challenged.
Kelcourse maintains a razor-thin margin of 9 votes over his closest competitor Democrat James Cameron. The tally shows; 6,971 for Kelcourse vs Cameron’s 6,962. These are the unofficial results for Newburyport, Amesbury and Salisbury.
“I’m confident that when this is settled I will be the winner,” Kelcourse told the Valley Patriot Thursday afternoon. “I can’t wait to get working for Newburyport, Amesbury and Salisbury. I am confident in process, I believe in the process.”
“Kelcourse said he is eager to hit the ground running as the Representative-elect. “My priority right away is to work on the funding gap in education. The first thing I want to examine is how to revise the Chapter 70 Education funding formula, particularly the cost of special education transportation costs. We have to change the cost of special ed transportation. So my priority is to restore local aid to Amesbury, Salisbury and Newburyport, because the way the chapter 70 formula is calculated is just not working for these 3 communities.”
Kelcourse says that he also wants to expand economic development, increase funding for parks, road repairs and sidewalks.
“I’m very grateful for support I received from so many people throughout the district. I’m especially grateful for my fellow candidates. The type of race we all ran was very positive, very upbeat. I couldn’t be more pleased with my opponents in this race they are true gentlemen.”
Newburyport holds 38 provisional ballots and between the other two towns the count can be up to 44 as reported by sources. Each of these will now have to be examined and information from the Registry of Motor Vehicles will be used to verify if the voters reside in the municipality where the ballots were cast. If they do they will go toward the overall voting count.
There are two reasons why this a dramatic event for both candidates; one who hopes to confirm a win and another who may see a reversal of fortunes . Thirty-eight of the provisional ballots come from Newburyport and the city’s voters have trended strongly towards Democratic candidates. This of course is potentially favorable for Cameron. Secondly, the number of provisional ballots is almost 4 times the net gain of votes Kelcourse maintains and so there could be a swing wide enough to take the tentative win away.
Tomorrow morning officials will begin the process of research for each ballot and this can take a few days potentially. As information is made available through sources that are following this closely a report will be filed with this publication.
Tom Duggan contributed to this report