“Every vote counts.”
That’s the message Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley passed along Tuesday night, April 9, after a single vote took New Port Richey City Council candidate Chopper Davis over the top to win a seat on the board.
"I think I have a lot of work to do," Davis said.
New Port Richey has a lot of problems, he said. He declined to say which specifically will be the first he tries to tackle. He says crime will "definitely" be addressed.
Seven candidates faced off for two open seats in the April 9 election.
While it was clear shortly after the polls closed that Jeff Starkey’s 414 votes were enough to win him a seat, a race developed between Davis and Rose Mohr. Early unofficial returns gave Davis 295 votes cast in his favor to Mohr’s 286.
The gap between them was .46 percent, according to Corley. Under state law, a candidate has to win by a .51 percent margin in order to avoid a recount.
Whether a recount would be required Tuesday night hinged on three provisional ballots that were cast in New Port Richey on Tuesday, Corley said. Those ballots, once validated, were couriered over to Corley’s Dade City office for counting.
When the counting was complete, Davis’ tally went up by one vote. Mohr didn’t gain a vote out of three. That single vote tipped Davis over the edge, giving him a .51 percent lead over Mohr, Corley said.
“That one vote moved it out of recount range,” Corley said. “I’ll be talking about this when I do the importance of voting” talks in schools.
Starkey also picked up a single vote from the provisional ballots, bringing his total to 415. Ginny Miller took the third and final provisional vote.
With Starkey and Davis, New Port Richey residents elected two newcomers who have business experience to the board. Davis has worked in sales for a long time and is former owner of Jilly's bar in downtown New Port Richey. Starkey is owner of Great Florida Insurance.
Other candidates in Tuesday’s election were:
- Incumbent Bob Langford with 261 votes
- Michael Malterer with 240 votes
- Former City Councilwoman Ginny Miller with 259 votes
- Jonathan Tietz with 207 votes
A total of 1,964 votes were counted in Tuesday’s election, which is a significant increase over last year’s election when only 525 people turned out to vote. The city has 8,422 registered voters.