FORT WORTH — Tarrant Regional Water District Board candidate John Basham called off a vote recount before it was completed Thursday when it appeared he was not going to have enough votes to change the outcome of the May 11 election.A report from Tarrant County Elections Administrator’s office indicates that Basham only received an additional 10 votes before Basham asked that the recount be halted. Basham needed to gain at least 91 votes to win a spot on the five-member board.While Basham ultimately lost his latest bid for a seat on the board, he pledged to remain active in water district issues, according to statements released by his campaign.Since Basham requested the early end to the recount, Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said the original vote totals remain in place.In the hotly contested election, Basham came in fourth, with 90 votes separating him from the third place candidate Vic Henderson, the current board president.“With this many votes in such an enormous election it would be wrong not to guarantee the voter’s wishes with a second look,” Basham said in a prepared statement.“I wanted to make sure every single vote was counted for every single candidate. When this many people take interest in a local election you have to let them know their votes mattered,” he said.Basham also praised how Raborn and his staff handled the recount, saying it removed any question about the “validity or process of the elections department in Tarrant County.”Raborn said Basham paid a deposit of $13,800 to the water district for the recount.“We have yet to calculate the actual costs, but they are likely less than his deposit. If less, he gets a refund of the difference. If the actual costs are more than his deposit, he must pay the difference,” Raborn said.Basham, who received over $200,000 in campaign contributions from two wealthy landowners who don’t want a water pipeline cutting across their ranches in East Texas, led a slate of three candidates — Mary Kelleher and Timothy Nold. The slate was known as BNK.Kelleher was the top vote getter among the seven candidates who were vying for three board positions. Longtime incumbent Jack Stevens along with Henderson also kept his seat, but veteran board member Hal Sparks was defeated.The BNK slate criticized the incumbents for purchasing a luxury helicopter and owning a deer lease. The challengers also questioned the board’s purchasing of land for the pipeline which would bring water from Lake Palestine to the Metroplex.But the incumbents shot back late in the game with mailers, robo calls and full-page newspaper ads disputing the claims as false.
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz