- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. — Republican challenger David Rouzer has requested a recount in the race for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District.

Mr. Rouzer, a state senator from Johnson County, trails incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre by 655 votes, or 0.2 percent of the nearly 337,000 ballots cast and within the 0.5 percent margin to trigger a recount under state law, if requested by a candidate.

With Republican Rep. Allen B. West conceding his race in Florida to Democrat Patrick Murphy early Tuesday morning, the North Carolina race is one of the last congressional races of 2012 to be called. A race between two House Republican incumbents in Louisiana is heading to a run-off next month under that state’s unique voting system.

In a statement, Mr. Rouzer said he wants to ensure every “legal vote” cast is properly and accurately counted, pointing to the potential for human error as exhibited by a vote-counting error found and corrected in Bladen County.

Poll workers there accidentally counted the votes from one precinct twice. The mistake was discovered during a routine check of the tally conducted the day after the election.

“In a race this close, accidental human error could easily change the outcome,” Mr. Rouzer said.

State Board of Elections Eexecutive Director Gary O. Bartlett said a machine recount will be held Monday and Tuesday at an estimated cost of $50,000.

North Carolina’s 7th District encompasses a largely rural stretch of 12 eastern North Carolina counties sprinkled with small towns. A member of his party’s conservative Blue Dog caucus, Mr. McIntyre, 56, is seeking a ninth term. The pending recount notwithstanding, he already has declared victory in the race, suggesting his lead is too big for Mr. Rouzer to overcome.

“While we respect the legal right for a recount, it is unfortunate that taxpayer dollars, time and resources will be spent on a process that has been closely monitored,” said Lachlan McIntosh, Mr. McIntyre’s campaign manager. “For someone who has claimed fiscal responsibility, David Rouzer is asking taxpayers to pay for his pursuit of his own personal political ambition.”

National Republican leaders targeted the district as a prime opportunity to expand their majority in the House after redistricting. That resulted in one of the most expensive television ad wars in the country with outside groups on both sides spending millions.

Though he is the incumbent, a victory by Mr. McIntyre would be considered something of an upset. In 2011, the state’s Republican-dominated legislature approved new boundaries for the 7th District that cut out heavily Democratic precincts in central Wilmington and Mr. McIntyre’s hometown of Lumberton.

As a state senator, Mr. Rouzer voted for those new district lines. Republican-leaning Johnston County, where he lives, was added to the district.

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