BILLINGS- The race for a new state district judge in Yellowstone County could be headed for a recount.
Billings lawyer Juli Pierce held a thin 59-vote lead Wednesday afternoon over former federal attorney Ashley Harada for department 8 of the 13th district court.
Pierce had 28,812 votes, while Harada had 28,753.
The race was identified as a possible recount by the Montana Secretary of State’s Office. A candidate can request an automatic recount if they are behind by less than .25 percent.
If the margin is between .25 percent and .5 percent, a trailing candidate can request a recount but would be required to pay for it, according to the state.
Harada is currently behind by .06 percent, which would qualify for a recount. Nearly all ballots appear to have been counted.
The department 8 seat is one of two new judgeships in Yellowstone County created by the 2017 Montana Legislature to accommodate a growth in case work.
In the other race, department 7, Collette B. Davies defeated Thomas Pardy.