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Stoltenberg contests Iowa House District 81 results after multiple recounts flip winner

Republican candidate Luana Stoltenberg is officially contesting the results of the Nov. 18 recount, which showed Democrat Craig Cooper to be the winner.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Editor's note: The video above is from Nov. 21. 

The controversial Iowa House District 81 election race is officially being contested by Republican candidate Luana Stoltenberg, after a Nov. 18 recount showed Democrat Craig Cooper to be the winner by just six votes.

Scott County canvassed its votes on Monday to finalize its results. 

"Knowing that we had a couple of races that were very close and knowing that they it wasn't 100% accurate," said Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins. "That's why I called the recount. So now we're 100% confident that this is the actual number."

On election night, it appeared that Stoltenberg had won the race by 29 votes against Cooper. On Thursday, Nov. 10, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced that an error had been discovered in the tabulation of Scott County's absentee ballots, leading to an administrative recount the next day.

Tompkins said that the discrepancy affected 470 ballots, and scheduled a recount for Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. at the Scott County Administrative Building.

The Nov. 15 recount was conducted through voting machines, and with poll workers and a professional machine technician present. But the recount was stopped after the machine repeatedly jammed. This prompted a Nov. 17 hand recount, followed by a machine count on Nov. 18.

The Iowa Secretary of State's website reported, as of Nov. 18, that Cooper is leading by just six votes after Scott County finished its final recount.

"I'm not even really sure how I felt. I mean, you're just kind of up and down," Stoltenberg said on Tuesday. "I wasn't sure what to expect. So it was a surprise, but it wasn't a surprise."

Despite the new results, Stoltenberg is asking for yet another recount. 

"We've done three recounts now and we're still not according to my records, we're still not at the number that they should have reconciled to," she said. 

News 8's Cesar Sanchez spoke with Cooper Tuesday morning about his opponent's request. He said that he would have done the same if he were in her shoes, however, he remains positive that he is the winner and the new representative of Iowa House District 81.

Pate's office will certify the state's election results on Dec. 5.  

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