Alabama’s Republican Party has declared a tie in the primary race for a state Senate seat and says the winner will be chosen by lot.
A state party news release says the party’s Candidate Committee held a hearing Saturday and said the District 27 primary race between Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey and incumbent Tom Whatley was officially a tie. It said the winner would be determined in accordance with the state election code.
News outlets reported that the committee held the hearing after provisional ballots were counted in the already close primary race and Hovey appeared to be ahead by only a single vote. The party did not release a reason for its decision.
Hovey in a message to The Montgomery Advertiser on Saturday night accused the party of counting an unregistered voter to bring the race to a tie.
“Certainly every vote is important and it’s unfortunate if anyone is mistaken that they are registered to vote,” Hovey wrote. It was unclear if he would challenge the decision.
The state election code says that in the event of a tie in a legislative race, the Secretary of State shall decide the winner by lot.
The district covers Tallapoosa, Lee and Russell counties. The GOP news release did not provide details on when the winner would be selected or the method to be used.
The Opelika-Auburn News reports that one method of deciding a tie by lot is to have the candidates draw slips of paper with one of them being marked as the winner.
“It could be a roll of a dice, high card, or rock-paper-scissors,” Secretary of State John Merrill told AL.com.
Whoever is declared the winner of the primary will run against Democrat candidate Sherri Reese of Opelika in the general election in November. Reese was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.