Updated: Losing candidate in local senate race pays $57,000 for recount

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

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Updated at 4:31 p.m. Monday: Jessica Neal announced via social media that she paid the $57,368 to continue with her recount effort in the 24th Senate District Race. The recount will now begin on Wednesday morning.

“I am THRILLED to share with all of you that I posted the bond amount of $57,368 with the Campbell County Circuit Court Clerk this morning,” she said via Facebook. “None of this would have been possible without your generous support. Thank you.”

Original story:

Jessica Neal must pay $57,368 by 1 p.m. on Monday to continue with her recount effort in the 24th Senate District race.

Neal lost a three-way Republican primary in May, finishing in second place by three percent to winner Shelley Funke Frommeyer. The 24th Senate District is currently represented by Wil Schroder, a Wilder Republican who is not running for a third term. Frommeyer will represent the GOP in November’s election against Democrat Rene Heinrich, a Highland Heights city council member.

Neal filed a petition for a recount on May 27, ten days after the primary election. She serves on the Campbell County Republican Party’s election integrity committee and previously penned an op-ed published at LINK nky suggesting that the election system is broken and that there is fraud present in it.

“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, has called Neal’s efforts “frivolous.”

Last month, the state Board of Elections sought to have Neal’s effort dismissed, but that motion was denied.

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If Neal pays the $57,000 recount bond, all four counties in the 24th District – Pendelton, Bracken, Campbell, and part of Kenton – will be required to follow the Order for Recount Procedures. 

“The custody of the voting machines, voting equipment, or voting system, the ballots, boxes, and all papers pertaining to the May 17, 2022, 24th District State Senate Republican Primary (“the primary”) shall be transferred to the Campbell Circuit Court except for Kenton County,” the Order for Recount Procedures says, elaborating that Kenton County will deliver only the nine machines identified to contain ballots cast in this primary. 

Lt. Nick Chaplin of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office will work with the county clerks to transfer the machines to Campbell County. The recount will take place in the future Law Library Room at the Campbell County Courthouse. 

During a court hearing over the matter in the last week of July, Campbell County Circuit Judge Daniel Zalla said it would cost at least $23,544 for a team of 12 to hand count the ballots. This price doesn’t include the cost of security, or any additional costs. Toward the end of the hearing, Zalla increased the number of those who will be counting the ballots to 16, which will raise the cost of the bond.

The full amount of the bond, more than $57,000, was determined late last week.

Judge Zalla said that he had coordinated with Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery to bring the voting machines to the Campbell County Administration Building in the Fiscal Court Chambers. However, Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen testified as to why that room wouldn’t work, so the location changed. 

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Neal has been trying to raise money for the bond and posted on her social media pages that she held a fundraiser on July 31. If she posts the bond, the recount would start on Wednesday. 

“I don’t really get a ton of time to raise money for this recount,” Neal said in a video on Rumble

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