Jacksonville, Fl. - We expected it to be a tight race, and it didn’t disappoint.
Just three votes separate Jay Fant and Paul Renner with all precincts, absentee ballots and provisional ballots counted- that's .02% of the vote. That margin is even slimmer than the five vote lead Fant had before absentees were counted. At one point while provisionals were being counted, the margin dipped to just one vote difference.
An automatic recount has been triggered.
Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland says the recount process is underway but will not formally begin until 10am Friday.
Election staffers will sort the roughly 12,000 votes cast for this race from the nearly 93,000 total ballots cast.
Fant and Renner are the Republican candidates competing for State House 15, the seat which was held by Daniel Davis, who decided not to pursue another term after being named the head of JaxChamber.
There will be a runoff vote for School Board District 2 as well because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote. The top two vote-getters compete in this runoff, which happens in November, but there will need to be a recount first to decide who those top two are.
Scott Shine has about 46 percent of the votes. Sam Hall leads Theresa Graham as the second highest by just three votes, however. That means this race will also need a recount to determine who will face Shine in November.
Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland says because the margin between candidates is less than a quarter percent, the recount must be done by hand.
The library straw ballot failed with a 1.3% margin- about 1,100 votes.
Duval County favored incumbent Congressman Ander Crenshaw, State House Rep Charles McBurney and Governor Rick Scott in their primaries. Glo Smith won Duval’s vote to square off against Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown in November. Democrats Charlie Crist for Governor and George Sheldon for Attorney General also won the primaries in Duval.
Mike Sharrit handily won the race for Circuit Judge and incumbent Paula Wright will be back in her seat on the Duval County School Board for District 4.
Results poured in early- 177 of 199 precincts reported within the first hour of polls closing. Virtually all had reported within the second hour. The absentee and provisional count dragged through five hours.
This primary was the first time electronic ballots were used in Duval for a county election. Holland told WOKV there were no reports of problems with the electronic ballots during these primaries.
Although a 20-21% voter turnout was expected, the actual number landed at 16.77%. Holland says the low turnout combined with the two recount races shows the different that just a few votes can mean. He says he has only seen one runoff in his nine years as Supervisor of Elections- so now having two that are so close is a tall order. That’s why he says they are not rushing the process- he wants to make sure he can look the candidates in the eye and confidently report the results when they’re confirmed.
WOKV will continue following this story and bring you the results of the recount on 104.5 FM and on Twitter @WOKVNews.