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Republican state Senate candidate Jim Buterbaugh has decided against petitioning for a recount due to the expense. 

Sen. Edith “Edie” McClafferty defeated Buterbaugh for the Senate District 38 seat by 54 votes on Nov. 3 — a narrow enough margin to flag the race for a recount by the state. 

Buterbaugh said it was going to cost about $9,000 — $4,500 each for Jefferson and Silver Bow counties — to do the recount due to state law.

If the margin of difference is greater than one-fourth of 1%, but less than one-half of 1%, the defeated candidate requesting a recount must post a bond with the clerk and recorder of the county in which the candidate resides, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The bond must be in an amount set by the clerk and recorder sufficient to cover all costs of the recount incurred by each county in which a recount is sought, including loss of time of regular employees due to absence from their regular duties.

A bond is not required when the margin of difference is less than one-fourth of 1%, according to the Secretary of State’s office. 

Buterbaugh said his margin of difference was a half percent, requiring him to cover the cost. 

“I can’t justify that,” said Buterbaugh of the expense, adding that he appealed to the state GOP for assistance but hasn’t heard back. 

Besides, “the (tabulating) machines are pretty accurate,” he said. 

Buterbaugh said that although he will be 69 for the next election, he will likely run again.

“I probably will. I’ve had the taste. It depends on my health, but I don’t see it going anywhere,” he said. 

Buterbaugh’s decision was welcome news to McClafferty on Friday. As a result, she will return to the Senate for a second term without a looming recount. 

“I’m honored that the voters have elected me to serve another term,” she said, and thanked Buterbaugh for running.

“He was a gentleman the whole time,” said McClafferty, and she encouraged Buterbaugh to stay involved because Montana needs people who are dedicated and committed. 

McClafferty will join 18 other Democrats in the Senate, where Republicans won the majority with 31 members, as Montana overwhelmingly voted for the GOP this year in state races. 

It’s been close before and the senators have managed to work with one another and get good things passed for Montana, said McClafferty.

“I think we will be able to do it again. We just all have to work together,” she said.


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