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It has been three weeks since Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey appeared to have narrowly eked out a win over State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn).

Once all the eligible provisional ballots were counted, Hovey appeared to defeat Whatley in the GOP Senate District 27 primary by one vote out of the 16,745 votes cast -- 8,373 for Hovey and 8,372 for Whatley.

Whatley's campaign formally requested a recount but withdrew that request days later.

As reported by Yellowhammer News' Dylan Smith, the withdrawal was the product of a letter from Hovey's legal counsel sent to county probate judges and Republican Party chair of Lee, Russell and Tallapoosa Counties and Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl on June 3 arguing against a recount.

Letter as follows:

In a statement given to 1819 News on Tuesday, Whatley's legal team explained the decision not to pursue a recount and to put the challenge in the hands of GOP officials "to ensure that all Republican votes are counted."

"In a primary election, there is no statutory provision for a recount, and one must be requested and paid for by one of the parties," the statement read. "Our team had a short time period to request a recount and did so to preserve our right. Unfortunately, Jay Hovey and his legal team sent an extensive letter objecting to all aspects of the recount, including objecting to its timing, objecting to the manner in which the recount would be conducted, and even objecting to what ballots would be recounted.

"Rather than spending extensive time arguing with the Hovey campaign and its legal counsel, Senator Whatley and his team instead choose to move forward with the challenge brought by his constituents to ensure that all Republican votes are counted in the race. Senator Whatley remains confident that he will be named the Republican nominee for Senate District 27 and will continue to serve the people of the district."

Those familiar with the situation tell 1819 News a strategy will be to challenge the outcome on the grounds that Democrats made an organized effort to vote against Whatley to deny him the Republican Party's nod.

The Republican nominee will face Democrat nominee former Army drill sergeant Sherri Reece in the general election on November 8.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.

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