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David Harmer, the Republican candidate in the 11th Congressional District, has reached out to donors to raise money for a potential recount in the close contest.

The San Ramon Republican was trailing incumbent Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney by 624 votes this morning, a split that represents about a half of a percentage point of all votes tallied so far. The secretary of state's website estimates that more than 354,000 ballots remain to be counted in the four counties that are part of the 11th Congressional District. The campaigns have pegged the number of uncounted ballots affecting the race's outcome at "tens of thousands."

Citing what he called a "post-election no-man's land," Harmer penned an e-mail to supporters to announce that he has "established a separate recount fund within our existing campaign committee." While the fund could be used to cover the cost of a recount once results are certified next month, the cash can also be used to pay for monitoring the counting of outstanding absentee and provisional ballots.

"To be clear, what's happening now is not a recount; it's the original count of ballots that were not tabulated in the hours following the closing of the polls. But funds deposited within the recount account may also be used to monitor post-election vote counting, as we are now doing with absentee and provisional ballots -- even if a formal recount is not underway," he wrote in the e-mail.

The move allows donors who have already contributed the maximum contribution allowed to his election fund to give an additional $2,400 to cover costs incurred after Nov. 2.

The e-mail, which includes two graphics linking to a donation page, pledges to refund donors of surplus cash after any ballot counting and challenge costs.

"As always, we will practice fiscal conservatism," he wrote. "We demonstrate our respect for your contributions by spending them carefully."

The Harmer campaign was not immediately available for comment on the new fund or whether the candidate plans to pursue a recount if the final results leave him with a slim loss.


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