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Newest numbers in Omaha's recall election mean Suttle holds his job

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January 25, 2011

Numbers released at 10:49 put Suttle ahead of recall supporters by 1,652 votes, a 51.1% to 49.9% margin with all precincts reporting

By Eileen McGuire-Mahony

OMAHA: Nebraska: Early in the night, numbers went back and forth, with Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and his opponents deeply anxious over the results to months of politicking. Almost half of year of collecting signatures, one at a time, and slogging it out in court battles came down to day at the polls.

45 minutes after polls closed, voters in favor of keeping Suttle had a 200 vote edge. The next set of results put recall supporters up by 300. At 9:30, Suttle was in danger of losing his job by only two votes; it took five digits after the decimal place to express the difference.

The pundits always said it would be close.

Douglas County's election authorities announced they would have 85% of votes cast by day's end - all the recall day turnout and the early voting. 2,000 absentee ballots are going to be out until Wednesday. Can 2,000 decide the fate of a mayor?

At 10:15, the fourth set of polling number came out, and Suttle was winning by 1,447 votes. This time, it didn't take so many decimal points. By 50.99% to 49.01%, Jim Suttle could look forward to reporting for work tomorrow. Election officials plan one more round of results before calling it a night, telling poll watchers to expect those numbers at 11pm CST.

Until then, with 263 precincts reporting, it's the final 17 precincts and the absentee ballots that hold the decision.