As Mike Cox prepares to become Michigan’s first Republican attorney general in more than 40 years, his opponent still hopes revised counts could reverse the election.

Unofficial tallies compiled by the Department of State show Cox leading state Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) by 6,484 votes out of 3,063,548 cast.

Refusing to concede, Peters is waiting for official election returns, which the Board of State Canvassers will certify Nov. 25. The board is now examining results in precincts throughout the state.

Another Democrat in a different race, Greg Stephens, is also waiting for certification without acknowledging defeat. Stephens unofficially placed third in the race for two open seats on the University Board of Regents.

Peters spokesman Mark Fisk said it’s likely some counties will find errors in their election-night tallies. Even the original results are unclear, as different organizations have reported different numbers, he said.

“The situation is very fluid,” Fisk said. “The numbers go up, the numbers go down. We are waiting for the independent counties to audit their election results before we make any decision.”

He said the campaign has not ruled out asking for a recount if Peters is behind after the official numbers are in.

If Cox’s official margin of victory shrinks to fewer than 2,000 votes, the state will perform an automatic recount. Otherwise, a candidate or party can request a recount within two days after certification, either throughout the state or in specific precincts.

At a cost of $10 per precinct, a state-wide recount would cost the petitioner more than $55,000, state department spokeswoman Julie Pierce said. But counties would pick up the tab if the recount led to a different winner.

Dave Doyle, vice president of the Republican campaign consultant firm Marketing Resource Group, said the cost would be prohibitive considering it’s unlikely a second count would reverse the outcome.

“Unless there’s something big out there none of us are aware of, I really don’t expect them to go through with the recount process,” he said.

In the meantime, Cox is beginning his transition. He met with Attorney General and Gov.-elect Jennifer Granholm and former Attorney General Frank Kelley, and is now at a conference of Republican attorney generals in New Orleans, Cox spokesman Stu Sandler said.

“He wants to make sure he can serve the voters in Michigan on January 1,” he said.

In the Regents race, initial counts showed Stephens received 1,271,609 votes, beating fellow Democrat Ismael Ahmed but trailing Republicans Andrea Fischer Newman and Andrew Richner. Richner came in second place with 1,279,907 votes.

Stephens said while he is hoping official results bring him victory, he won’t ask for another count. “I’m not going to be able to raise that kind of money for a recount effort,” he said.

Because the Regents contest was for two seats, the state will not automatically recount the votes no matter the margin of victory, Pierce said.

Stephens said that rule disappointed him. “That shows you how that race is kind of a second tier race,” he said. “To me it certainly isn’t. What is at stake there is just as important as some of the other statewide races.”

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