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James to seek partial recount

With all of the votes — including provisional ballots — counted in Alabama, gubernatorial candidate Tim James said Tuesday he will seek a recount in at least 25 counties to see if he can eke out a second-place finish in the Republican primary.

James finished third, behind Tuscaloosa physician Robert Bentley. The unofficial but complete count shows them separated by just 167 votes. Bradley Byrne, former chief of the state’s two-year college system, secured a spot in the runoff by winning 27.89 percent of the vote.

Ron Sparks won a decisive vote in the Democratic primary over Artur Davis.

“The vote margin remains razor thin. Because of this, I have decided to move forward with a recount of the Republican gubernatorial primary vote,” James said in a statement.

On his Web site, he also sought donations for what he said would be a “costly” recount.

James said he wants to move quickly in the runoff to allow the second-place finisher enough time to campaign before the July 13 runoff.

“Let me be very clear: I do not want to win this race unless I have won this race,” he said. “It is not our objective to invent votes but to make sure there is an accurate count of votes cast.”

Mike Hubbard, chairman of the state Republican Party, said the vote would not be certified until noon Friday, as required by law.

“Should a recount be requested, the party will follow the guidelines set forth by the Secretary of State and in accordance with Alabama law,” he said. “We will work through the process in an orderly and lawful manner.”

Attorney General Troy King issued an opinion Tuesday that an automatic recount is not required by state law in a primary; the candidate requesting the recount would therefore have to foot the bill.

Bentley declared victory in the race.

“Now that every vote has been counted, I am honored to declare victory and move forward with the run-off campaign,” he said in a statement. “I congratulate Tim James for waging a hard fought campaign, but am ready to debate the key challenges facing Alabama with my run-off opponent.

“I look forward to reaching out to the supporters of my primary opponents, earning each of their votes, and communicating my vision of where I want to lead this great state of ours. Alabama is hurting, and I intend to remedy that with job creating policies of less government and lower taxes.”

In Escambia County, James finished second to Byrne in the Republican primary.