John Beard of Decorah currently trails his opponent in the race for Iowa State Senate District 28 by only 23 votes.

Because more than 29,000 ballots were cast in last week's general election, Beard is requesting a recount.

After votes were counted last Tuesday night, Republican Michael Breitbach of Strawberry Point led Beard by 43 votes - 14,791 to 14,748. However, after votes were canvassed in Clayton, Fayette and Winneshiek counties this week, that margin decreased to 23 votes.

In Winneshiek County, Beard received 60 percent (5,648) of the votes cast.

Beard said Allamakee County was completing its canvassing Wednesday.

"When it's a 23-vote margin out of 29,000 votes it seems like a good idea (to request a recount)," Beard said Wednesday morning. "I think I owe it to the people who put a lot of time and effort into my campaign. It is certainly worth getting a definitive answer."

Beard said he would be filing recount requests with all the counties in his district.


The candidate said each county auditor would assemble a group of three people to do the recount, one from each party and a third "neutral party."

"They will do quite a bit of hand recounting of the ballots because that way they can tell voter intent," he explained.

"It will be nice to know the election is done as fairly as possible. With all this talk about voter fraud, if we're concerned about elections being an accurate reflection of the populace, we should make sure we do everything we can," he said.

Beard said when the difference in votes between him and his opponent was 43 votes, he was being encouraged by Democratic party staff to call for a recount.

"Not too many years ago, Senator (Jeff) Danielson was down by 100 votes and came back and won by 11 ... it illustrates when you get really close with that many votes cast it's worth doing a recount," Beard said.

Beard served in the Iowa House from 2008-2010.