Eight Votes Determine Paulding’s Magistrate Race
Incumbent Martin Valbuena retains after squeaking by challenger Dan Collins.
In a county that saw 6,235 of its voters cast ballots, it was eight votes that made the difference in one race.
Paulding voters favored incumbent Martin Valbuena by one of the slimmest of margins in Tuesday’s runoff of magistrate judge. After falling short of the 50-percent mark he needed to pass in last month’s primary election, Valbuena on Tuesday earned the favor of 2,979 voters, giving him 50.07 percent of the votes cast.
Challenger Dan Collins earned 2,971 votes but led for much of the evening as precinct results came in one by one.
Deidre Holden, supervisor of Paulding County Elections & Voter Registration, reported that the county only had two provisional ballots after Tuesday’s votes were tabulated—not enough to swing the election in Collins’ favor.
Though a handful of votes determined the outcome, Holden says it is up to Collins to ask for a recount.
“If [he] wants to call for a recount, [he has] to request it in writing upon certification of the election,” Holden said.
Election officials will certify the results on Friday. Collins would then have two business days to request a recount—giving him a deadline of the end of business Tuesday to do so.
An attempt to reach Collins for a comment on the race was not successful as of 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Should the results stand, Valbuena will be set to begin a new term in January, as no Democrats nor independents qualified for the office.
Return to Dallas-Hiram Patch for more election results.
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