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Dorworth vs. Clelland Race Likely Headed for Recount

Photo:Orlando Sentinel
Photo:Orlando Sentinel

November 9, 2012 | WMFE - It appears as if a recount will be necessary in the race for State Senate District 29 in Seminole County. The race is still extremely close between incumbent Republican Chris Dorworth, already named as future house speaker and Democratic challenger Mike Clelland, an Orlando attorney and former firefighter.

County elections workers counted 370 provisional ballots last night and this morning  Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel said that count increased Clelland's lead to123 votes.

He led by only 37 votes when polls closed Tuesday.

The race is likely headed for a full recount. State law requires that option to automatically kick-in if the margin between the two candidates is less than one half of one percent.

Dorworth had been in line to become speaker in two years, following Republican Rep. Will Weatherford. The close election and probable recount calls into question the legislature’s practice of selecting leaders years ahead of time.
The practice assumes that the lawmaker will be reelected and that the party will remain in power.
University of Central Florida political science professor Aubrey Jewett says it’s one of the more peculiar things Florida lawmakers do and he says it has only been this way since the imposition of term limits.

“In the old days, they did used to wait a little while and they’d have to be around for a while. But now, because of term limits, if you have aspirations for leadership you know as soon as the first session is over, you’ve got to start collecting promises because you know other people are doing it as well.”  Jewett says. “It’s not a very good way to select a leader because you don’t know how good they’re going to be, quite frankly, after just one session, less than a year in office.”

Seminole Elections Supervisor Ertel has tentatively scheduled the recount for Sunday if it is ordered by Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
Dorworth's departure would create a scramble among Republicans to replace him as speaker-designate.



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