State Rep. Charles Jeter said he expected a tight race in Tuesday’s GOP primary for his District 92 seat.
“I didn’t expect it to be 28-votes tight,” the Huntersville Republican said Wednesday.
Jeter edged retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Davis by that margin, according to unofficial returns with all precincts reporting.
Davis said Wednesday that he will seek a recount. He is eligible for one since the vote difference was under 1 percent.
“I’ve got to, for the people who work for me,” Davis said. “The people who came to work the polls, I’ve never seen such enthusiasm.”
The district stretches down the Catawba River from Huntersville to Lake Wylie.
Jeter had 3,719 votes to 3,691 votes for Davis, according to unofficial returns.
That equates to 50.19 percent for Jeter and 49.81 percent for Davis, according to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.
Davis lives in the Mountain Island Lake area. In the 2012 Republican primary, he lost to Jeter by 454 votes, with 5,440 votes cast.
The main issue in this year’s race was the toll lanes under construction on Interstate 77 in north Mecklenburg.
Both candidates oppose the toll lanes, though Davis said Jeter’s opposition came too late.
“I agree it’s a fair criticism,” Jeter said Wednesday.
But no legislator has worked harder than he has since September to stop the toll lanes planned from Charlotte to Mooresville, Jeter said.
Although work started on the $655 million project in the Lake Norman area in November, Jeter said he’s continuing to work to stop the lanes from being built.
Jeter said voter anger over the toll lanes and other issues in the northern part of the district help explain Tuesday’s close margin.
Davis won all of the northern precincts, while Jeter won all but one of the southern precincts, according to unofficial precinct results on the Board of Elections website.
Jeter said Gov. Pat McCrory also was hurt by the toll lanes issue in northern Mecklenburg and southern Iredell counties.
Former State Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Mooresville, beat McCrory in only five of the 195 Mecklenburg County precincts, with all of Brawley’s wins coming in the northern end of the county.
McCrory won 78.35 percent of the vote in Mecklenburg County in Tuesday’s GOP primary, according to unofficial returns. Brawley had 15.87 percent.
The toll lanes issue also hurt McCrory in southern Iredell County. Brawley beat the governor in seven of the county’s 29 precincts, all of them in the southern end of the county.
Jeter said Davis had cast him as pro-tolls when nothing could have been further from the truth. And the Lake Norman Conservatives group gave voters a list of candidates who opposed the toll lanes, “and I wasn’t on it,” Jeter said.
“I will say I was a little frustrated that my view on tolls was misrepresented,” Jeter said.
Pending the outcome of the recount, Jeter will face Democrat Chaz Beasley in the November general election. Beasley said Jeter’s “razor-thin margin is further proof that voters dislike his past support for the I-77 toll project. He outspent his opponent nearly 50-to-1 and is ahead by only 28 votes.”