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Roy Moore Won't Concede the Alabama Senate Race. But He Might Not Be Able to Afford a Recount

Alana Abramson
Roy Moore Won't Concede the Alabama Senate Race. But He Might Not Be Able to Afford a Recount

As evidenced by a nearly five-minute video clip released Wednesday evening, Republican candidate Roy Moore is not planning on conceding the Alabama Senate race any time soon. Even though results showed his Democratic opponent Doug Jones defeated him by 1.5 percentage points, Moore said he was awaiting certification of the final votes, declining to rule out the possibility he would request a recount.

There’s just one problem — his campaign may not be unable to afford one.

As of right now, any recount would need to be financed by Moore or his campaign. However, the Alabama Secretary of State is currently in the process of certifying the votes, which the office estimates will happen between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3. Moore has 48 hours after the vote’s certification to request a recount, the office said. And if his margin of loss stays over half a percentage point, he or his campaign will have to finance the recount.

Moore said in his video statement that the current vote count does not include military and provisional ballots, and that is why he is waiting on the certification of the votes from Alabama’s Secretary of State. But Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told Fortune it was highly unlikely that counting these ballots would result in a change.

“There are a lot of votes that would need to be thrown out for that to occur,” Merrill said.

In the small chance it does happen, Moore would then have to deal with the issue of funding, which Merrill estimated could be between $1 million and $1.5 million. The total amount has to be put up when the request is made. As of November 22, the last time a filing was made publicly available, Moore’s campaign only had $636,046 in cash on hand. That means Moore would have to finance the rest of the recount himself, paying as much as $863,000.

It is possible, however, that he could raise the money through something like a GoFundMe, or receive a personal donation; Alabama law maintains that someone with “current standing” has to request the recount. The Secretary of State’s office said at this point, Moore, his campaign, or the Alabama Republican party counts as a person of standing, although there is potential for that definition to be hashed out in court. And the state party doesn’t seem on board. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan put out a statement Wednesday morning explicitly stating that “the race has ended.” Lathan did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Merrill acknowledged the financial hill was steep for Moore. “I am not sure where Judge Moore would receive the funds,” he said.

Moore’s campaign representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment, either about how much money the campaign currently has or how they would finance the recount should they request one.