UPDATE: Kevin Kreowski's supporters have raised $3,305 as of 1 p.m. Wednesday — well over the $3,000 goal.
Also, Shelly Higginbotham donated $495 toward the recount effort at 8:30 a.m., stating on the site: "I believe it is important to the community to know for certain that the count is correct. Let's get the election finalized and move ahead."
Original story: Supporters of Pismo Beach mayoral candidate Kevin Kreowski are raising money to pay for an election recount after incumbent Shelly Higginbotham held onto her seat by only two votes, according to unofficial election results.
Kreowski’s supporters had raised $1,610 as of 5 p.m. Tuesday through crowd-funding website GoFundMe.com, with a goal of bringing in $3,000.
Kreowski could ask for a recount up to five days after the election results are certified, which county Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald anticipates will happen Wednesday.
When asked Tuesday if he would seek a recount, Kreowski said, “We’re working hard toward it.”
“This was sparked totally by the citizens,” he added. “They want to see a fair and just outcome, and they’re stepping up to the plate.”
If he does pursue a recount, Kreowski would be required per the state elections code to pay a deposit each day to cover the cost. Rodewald estimated it would cost about $1,800 a day for two recount boards (each are comprised of four people and a supervisor) to work for seven hours.
Rodewald said a recount in a Grover Beach election two years ago took a day and a half, but there are fewer votes to recount in the Pismo Beach race.
If Kreowski is declared the winner after the recount, he would be refunded the money.
Shell Beach resident Mark Adam set up the fundraising page on GoFundMe.com late Monday night after seeing a comment Kreowski posted on his Facebook page, asking for advice on whether to pursue a costly recount.
Adam offered to set up the website, and Kreowski replied, “Let’s do it or try.”
“When he said, ‘Yeah, go ahead,’ I think I had it up about 10 minutes later,” Adam said.
“I think a lot of people would be sympathetic to a local candidate where the race is that close,” Adam added. “It’s got to be brutal on both sides.”
Kreowski said the $3,000 that supporters are working toward for the recount is more than he spent on his entire campaign. (His campaign’s most recent financial disclosure statement shows he raised $2,098 and spent $1,787 from January through Oct. 18.)
The contributions toward the recount include $300 from county Supervisor Adam Hill and $100 from Marcia Guthrie, who ran for a Pismo Beach council seat. Guthrie finished third among four contenders for two seats.
“I’m just humbled and amazed at human kindness and technology,” Kreowski said. “It speaks volumes, the fact that I didn’t spend that much on a campaign. It was grassroots, and I went against the incumbent for her only having two votes ahead of me speaks a lot as far as what the citizens want to see.”
Higginbotham finished the race with 49.88 percent of the vote, with 1,637 votes, to Kreowski’s 49.82 percent, or 1,635 votes, according to the unofficial results.
Higginbotham said Tuesday that she’s confident in the election results, “but if Mr. Kreowski and his supporters believe that a race is this close and want it re-checked, then certainly it is their right to do that.”
She added: “I think this is a great example that we can all tell our children that every vote counts.”
When asked about the close outcome, Higginbotham said that for many Pismo Beach voters, the mayor and council races were about one issue: a large, now-defunct development proposed in Price Canyon.
Rodewald said the only recount in her 20-year tenure as clerk-recorder was a measure that would have changed Grover Beach to a charter city from a general law city. The results of the recount were unchanged: the measure lost by four votes.