BLOOMINGTON — Democratic congressional candidate David Gill, trailing by 1,287 votes out of 293,146 cast in the 13th District race, is refusing to concede defeat.
The Gill campaign Wednesday released a statement that said it was doing what it could "to ensure that no one who tried to vote in this election was left out."
The statement wasn't as bold as the candidate's own in-person assertion early Wednesday morning at a Champaign hotel that "I believe that when all the votes are counted I'll be your next congressman," but it ensured that the election campaign would be prolonged at least one more day.
Gill's campaign manager, Sherry Greenberg, said that once results were counted from Macon County, it showed that "this is one of the tightest congressional races in the nation. Rodney Davis currently leads David Gill by less than half a percentage point districtwide.
"Dr. Gill is getting some much-needed rest and spending time with his family today while we explore all the legal options available to the campaign to ensure there was a full and fair count of every ballot cast. Today, we will be looking at the impact of provisional ballots on the totals and working to ensure that no one who tried to vote in this election was left out."
The campaign of Republican Rodney Davis issued its own brief statement that "one hundred percent of precincts have reported and Rodney Davis leads by about 1,300 votes. The AP has called the race. CNN has called the race. Politico has called the race. We're confident the numbers will hold up."
Davis for the most part stayed out of the public eye Wednesday, doing a few interviews, stopping by coffee shops in Springfield and taking congratulatory phone calls at his Taylorville home, said spokesman Patrick Pfingsten.
County clerks in Champaign and Macon counties — two of the top three vote-providers in the 13th District — said it was unlikely there were enough outstanding ballots to change the election's outcome.
In Macon County, said County Clerk Stephen Bean, there were a possible 341 absentee ballots out plus 154 provisional ballots. But many of the absentee ballots won't be returned or returned on time, and many of the provisional ballots won't end up being counted, he said.
"The last time we only counted about half of them, and you always have a certain amount of absentees that don't come back," Bean said. "I don't think there's enough out there to overcome the (1,287-vote) difference."
Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said there are, at most, 475 absentee and provisional votes outstanding in Champaign County. Even with that Gill likely would get only 57 percent of those votes — his winning percentage in Champaign County. That would give him only 270 of the 1,287 votes needed — from the county that provided almost one-fifth of all the votes in the district.