Automatic recount under way after 37 votes separate Dorworth, Clelland

Updated:

Loading

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Fewer than 50 votes could keep a prominent Republican from returning to the state capitol.

Rep. Chris Dorworth, was slated to become House speaker in two years. He’s headed to an automatic recount after finishing 37 votes shy of Democratic challenger Mike Clelland.

Dorworth, elected in 2007, has been haunted by personal and financial issues in his re-election bid.

In the meantime, Clelland said he’s trying to stay busy knowing he may pull off a win that could rock Tallahassee.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” he said. “Certainly it's the better position to be in than a loss.”

Election staff will now go through hundreds of provisional ballots, but officials said they're certain all of the 74,000 votes in the race will have to be recounted.

“We are going to run every single ballot back through the machines,” said Seminoel County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel.

Dorworth said he won’t comment until after the recount. 

“It's clear there has been some party crossover, and our message was jobs and education, and ethics reform, and it evidently resonated with the voters,” Clelland said.

Election officials said the recount process could last through Sunday.