Not one or two but three machine recounts likely in close races
State and county voting officials say machine recounts will be required in three of Florida's closest primary races.
They are the Democratic primary in Senate District 19 in Tampa Bay; a race for circuit judge in the 4th Judicial Circuit in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties; and the Democratic primary in Congressional District 2 in 19 counties stretching from Marion County to the Panhandle.
That last one could be a major logistical challenge because many of the counties in CD 2 are also smack in the path of Tropical Storm Hermine, which is predicted to make landfall somewhere in the Big Bend region on Thursday.
The counties, some of them in the low-lying coastal Big Bend area that's highly prone to flooding, are Bay, Calhoun, Columbia, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Marion, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington. As of Wednesday, six of them said their county courthouses would be closed Thursday. They are Dixie, Gilchrist, Gulf, Lafayette, Levy and Taylor.
The Democratic congressional primary between Steve Crapps and Walter Dartland ended with the two candidates separated by two-tenths of a percentage point after more than 60,000 votes cast, with Dartland, a consumer advocate and former assistant attorney general, holding a precarious 137-vote lead. The Democratic nominee will face Republican Neal Dunn in November in a district that favors Republicans.
The third race that's too close to call involves Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey and Gerald Wilkerson, with Hulsey holding a slight lead. All three races were cited in an email Wednesday from Maria Matthews, director of the state Division of Elections, to Florida's 67 county supervisors of elections.