The race for a seat on the Albany County Board of Commissioners will come down to a recount as Democrat Sue Ibarra holds a 62-vote lead over incumbent Republican Terri Jones as of Tuesday night.

With 18,739 votes cast, Ibarra received 8,277 unofficial votes to Jones’s 8,215. Independent candidate Klaus Halbsgut received 1,500 votes.

According to Wyoming State Statute, an automatic recount is triggered if the margin of victory is less than 1% of the number of votes cast for the winner.

The race looked to be in favor of Jones until absentee votes were tabulated, propelling Ibarra into the lead.

“I was sweating there for a while,” Ibarra said. “I just knew with the absentee ballots that it had to be a closer race than the results were showing earlier.”

Ibarra said she was confident in the vote count and had no doubt the result would stand.

“I have to acknowledge that I had a wonderful support team as far as my campaign team and the support I received from Albany County residents,” she said. “It was unbelievable. I think people were ready for a change.”

Ibarra described herself as a community activist and volunteer. She ran unopposed in the Democrat primary after serving two terms on the Albany County School District Board of Education.

She said protecting the Casper Aquifer would be a high priority, and she would work to represent all county residents.

“I was running to be a candidate and a representative for everyone, not only the city residents but the rural residents as well,” she said. “That will hold true throughout my term.”

She said she would also advocate for transparency and access to commission meetings, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That is another priority for me — to make sure we beat this pandemic so that we can return to some normalcy in all areas of our lives,” she said.

With the victory, Ibarra would join Democrat Pete Gosar on the commission, giving Democrats a 2-to-1 edge in representation over lone Republican Heber Richardson.

{p class=”x_MsoNormal”}{span}Jones, who served as commission chairwoman, congratulated Ibarra on the victory Tuesday night. She was elected for her first term in 2016 as a political newcomer, emerging from a primary race that included six Republican challengers. {/span}

{p class=”x_MsoNormal”}Halbsgut ran as a pro-business independent candidate, earning his way onto the ballot by submitting a petition with signatures from 291 registered voters. He was not available for a comment Tuesday evening.

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