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Fireworks cap election’s end

Kevin Wiser

At long last, the race for Nevada County’s District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors is over.

“I’m pleased that what we’ve been calling ‘The Election That Wouldn’t End’ is finally over,” Clerk-recorder Lorraine Jewett-Burdick said Wednesday at the conclusion of a three-day recount requested by incumbent Supervisor Bruce Conklin. “Nevada County voters (can be) assured that their votes (were) counted accurately.”

After all the counting and recounting – which began Election Day, continued through the ensuing 28-day canvass, and wrapped up with this week’s three-day recount – challenger Drew Bedwell still ended up 19 votes ahead, reported Jewett-Burdick. “The vote didn’t change at all.”

Because Conklin’s recount effort failed to bridge the 19-vote deficit, the final results certified by the Elections Office on Dec. 3 stand as official, making Bedwell – a property rights activist turned politician – Nevada County’s new District 3 supervisor.

“I’m pleased it is over and look forward to the challenge ahead. It will be daunting,” said Bedwell in an e-mail he left with The Union before leaving for a vacation in Hawaii. “I regret not talking to my opponent about the outcome, but I wish him well and feel confident that he has honestly done what he believed in.”

Bedwell also left a statement in case the recount didn’t go his way.

While Conklin acknowledged that the recount failed to change the outcome of the race, he said he thought it was a worthwhile effort anyway.

“We found a number of votes that weren’t counted, but they seemed to balance each other out in the end,” Conklin said.

Of the approximately 6,900 ballots cast in District 3, there were 16 votes that changed, eight for each side, Jewett-Burdick said.

Conklin gave thanks to everyone who supported his campaign. “I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community,” he said.

So is Conklin conceding?

“I’m not sure what that means,” he responded.

So is it really over?

“I would think so,” Conklin answered.

So, what’s next for him?, Conklin was asked.

“I’m not sure. I’ll be looking for work,” he said. “I do have a strong desire to stay in public service of some kind. I’m not sure what shape that will take.”

Nevada City Planning Commission Chair Laurie Oberholtzer, who observed the recount on Conklin’s behalf, thinks Nevada County hasn’t heard the last of Bruce Conklin.

“He was a well-loved leader,” she said. “The vote was so close, less than one vote per precinct, that it clearly shows great support for Bruce and recognition of his good work.”

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