2 races too close to call; recount Thursday

Recount Thursday for State House District 15, Duval School Board District 2

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County elections officials are preparing for recount for State House District 15 seat and Duval School Board District 2 -- races where two candidates finished primary election night just three votes apart. In other races for Legislature and congressional seats, Republican incumbents won by a landslide.

Republicans Paul Renner and Jay Fant are running in House District 15 -- the southwest Duval County seat being vacated by Rep. Daniel Davis. With 100 percent reporting, Fant had 5,947 votes and Renner had 5,944. (Fla. House District 15 returns)

Elections officials worked late Tuesday reviewing provisional ballots and absentee ballots that arrived late in the day, but the race was still too close to call.

"The state says any race within a half percent constitutes a machine recount," Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said. "Within a quarter percent, you do the machine recount and look at every ballot that's undervoted with no votes on it to see if there's a clear indication the voter voted, or if there's an overvote."

Holland initially said the recount would be Wednesday, then said because there must be 'proper public notification," it will begin Thursday morning. Midday Wednesday, Holland said it might not begin until late Thursday afternoon, even Friday.

Paul Renner and Jay Fant
Paul Renner and Jay Fant

"It was a heavily contested race so I'm not surprised it's closet," Renner (pictured on left) said. "I think, if it's not obvious already, every vote really does count."

"This is a race about a lot of differentiation, and that tends to split voters pretty easily," said Fant. "We worked so hard, and whatever the outcome is, that's the outcome."

A second recount is also needed in the Duval School Board District 2 race. Scott Shine finished with 46 percent in the four-person race, but Sam Hall placed second with 19 percent -- only three votes ahead of incumbent board member Theresa Graham. The recount will determine who will make a November runoff election with Shine.

In a second School Board race, voters returned Paula Wright to another term in District 5. (Duval County race returns)

The Duval County straw vote on creating a tax district to fund Jacksonville's libraries was defeated on a 51-49 vote.

Incumbent congressmen Ander Crenshaw and Ted Yoho, along with state Sen. John Thrasher and state Rep. Charles McBurney, easily dispatched Republican challengers in Tuesday's primary. (Congressional race returns; State Legislature returns)

Turnout was lower than expected: 16.6 percent in Duval County and only slightly higher in Clay County, where there were also competitive School Board races, along with a county commission seat. (Clay County returns)

"People are apathetic about what's going on in this country," voter Janice Weeks said. "We all got to get out and act."