Here’s how NKY counties spent Jessica Neal recount money

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Campbell County Judge Daniel Zalla entered an order on Monday that seeks to release the remaining balance of the recount bond involving former Senate District 24 Candidate Jessica Neal. 

Zalla said in his order that there is no indication there’s a motion by Neal before the Kentucky Court of Appeals or the Kentucky Supreme Court. 

Further, he said that unless an interested party comes forward by 4 p.m. Dec. 9, the remaining balance of $38,825.07 will be refunded to Neal. The State Board of Elections said they would not interfere or request the money not be returned to Neal. 

Neal, the second-place finisher in the 24th Senate District race, appealed a decision that certified the race in favor of Shelley Funke Frommeyer after a recount found that the vote tally didn’t change. Frommeyer went on to win the general election against Democrat Rene Heinrich.

Neal, a member of the Campbell County Republican Party’s election integrity committee, has pushed conspiracy theories about elections in Kentucky and their potential for fraud.

“It was a pretty close race, and I firmly believe in making sure we have secure elections,” Neal said in May on her reasoning for a recount. Secretary of State Michael G. Adams, also a Republican, called Neal’s efforts “frivolous.”

In the recount, Neal was asked to pay more than $57,000 for the full recount. Zalla certified the results of the recount and, in his opinion, said that after the recount, Neal definitely lost the election and showed that what Neal said publicly about election fraud is drastically different from what she said under oath.

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One of the donations to the recount fund came from the Boone County Republican Party in the amount of $25,000. Emily Shelton, a Boone County Republican Party precinct captain and the Republican member of the Boone County Board of Elections, said the donation came from one private donor, which would violate Kentucky campaign finance laws. 

Boone County Republican Party chairman Chet Hand denied the donations came from one person, but wouldn’t reveal who the donors were — the annual reports from the Kentucky Registry for Campaign Finance won’t be released until February, when this information will be available. 

The recount started on Aug. 10 and concluded on Aug. 11. Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen said the machines behaved as they were supposed to, and in all four counties, there was only an issue with one vote due to an “overvote.” 

With the recount only lasting one day and costing $18,174.93 in total, the remainder is set to be released to Neal. 

The documents below detail how the court spent the money to conduct the recount.

Here are the top expenses from the recount.

-$4,674 went to the Campbell County Sheriff for staff.

-$2,349 to Bracken County for staff, delivery of machines and other equipment.

-$506.50 to Campbell County for tables and chairs.

-$1,802.64 to Pendleton County for transportation of machines and counters.

-$3,019.83 to Campbell County for counters and transportation.

-$4,137.75 to Chairman of the recount Jack Porter.

-$1,457.68 to Kenton County for counters and machine movers.

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