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Politics & Government

Milwaukee County Spent Nearly $1.7 Million On Trump Recount

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Becca Schimmel
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Workers go through ballots during Milwaukee County's presidential election recount.

The presidential recount in Wisconsin's Milwaukee County came in slightly under budget, at nearly $1.7 million, according to data released Wednesday.

George Christensen, the clerk of the state's largest county, released numbers that show it spent $1.69 million on its recount, with nearly a third of that — $550,450 — going to rent space for the effort.

Christensen said the county expected the recount would cost a little more than $2 million.

President Donald Trump's campaign paid $3 million in advance for recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties, which are Democratic strongholds. Trump lost Wisconsin to Democrat Joe Biden by 0.6 percentage points. Under state law, losing candidates can request recounts but must pay the cost upfront if they lose by more than 0.25 percentage points. The recounts resulted in a slightly larger lead for Biden.

The counties are required to calculate the actual costs and are supposed to be reimbursed from Trump's payment. If the costs come in below estimates, excess funds are supposed to go back to Trump's campaign. Dane County's final cost was about $729,700, which was about $10,000 less than anticipated.

Republicans who control the Legislature's finance committee have refused to release any of the Trump campaign's money to the counties because an unnamed member objected to any transfer. Co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Mark Born have said the committee will meet to discuss reimbursements, but they haven't said when.

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