RALEIGH — The race to be the next congressman from North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District will be decided this week. With just 655 votes separating the two candidates, Republican David Rouzer, who is currently trailing, asked for a recount of the votes. That recount begins Monday.

The race between incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre and Rouzer is one of the most expensive congressional races in the country and is now the race with the closest outcome on Election Day.

With well over 300,000 votes cast, the 655-vote difference was well within the margin for Rouzer to ask for a recount. On Tuesday he did just that, saying he was concerned about irregularities in Bladen County during the initial vote count.

Each county within District 7 will begin their recount Monday in hopes of completing the process by Tuesday.

"By statute you do it the same way as Election Day," said Gary Bartlett with the NC Board of Elections. "That is you place the optical scan ballot through the tabulator and you recount the ballots, the provisionals, any mail absentees and canvass just like you would for the Election Day.

It is unusual for a recount to swing a race by as many votes as separates these two candidates but political observers say it was expected that Rouzer would want this double check to make sure the final vote count is correct.