TAMPA — A recount has confirmed that veteran family law attorney Catherine Catlin defeated incumbent Circuit Judge J. Kevin Carey in Tuesday's election.
A 10-hour machine recount, begun Friday and finished Saturday afternoon, showed Catlin picking up 11 more votes to collect a total of 220 more votes than Carey. Final tallies show Catlin garnering 30,912 votes, or 50.18 percent. Carey had 30,692, or 49.82 percent, said Kathy Harris, general counsel for the Hillsborough Election Supervisor's Office.
Before the recount, Catlin had led by 209 votes, winning by less than 0.5 percent. By state law, a machine recount is ordered if a candidate wins by less than 0.5 percent. A hand recount is ordered if the margin is less than 0.25 percent, a bar not met by the final tally.
Catlin, who left for vacation with her family to Hawaii before the recount began, said she was relieved that the race was finally over. She credited a massive grass roots effort for her win.
"I think the fact that I did go around and knock on as many doors as I did made all the difference," she said. "I'm ecstatic."
Carey's campaign manager, Tom Scarritt, spoke on behalf of the judge, who wished Catlin well on the bench.
"Judge Carey will honor the results of the election and the recount," Scarritt said. Carey, who was elected to the bench in 2002, will now get a good night sleep, Scarritt said.
"He will then weigh his many options in the next week or two," Scarritt said.
Results from the recount will be sent to the canvassing board to be made official.
Janet Rifkin, a consultant on Catlin's campaign, urged all voters to cast their ballots in November.
"Races are closer than ever," she said. "If they every wondered and doubted that their vote does or doesn't count, this is living proof that every vote does count."
Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813)269-5312 or email@example.com.