Seminole recount is complete; Clelland unseats Dorworth

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Rep. Chris Dorworth, a Republican legislator in line to become Florida House speaker in 2014, has lost to Democratic challenger Mike Clelland after a recount.

Clelland, a lawyer and retired firefighter, won the race by 126 votes after a hand recount of over- and under-vote ballots Monday.

Both District 29 candidates are from Lake Mary in central Florida.

 Immediately after the results were announced, the Florida Democratic Party released a statement congratulating Clelland.

“Congratulations again to Mike Clelland on a hard fought victory. After counting and recounting the votes, Clelland has proven the upset that should send shockwaves across the Republican Party and the deep pocketed special interests in Tallahassee. We also congratulate Seminole County Democrats for their impressive victories this cycle," the statement read.

Over-votes occur when more than one candidate is selected. Under-votes are when no candidate is selected.

Clelland had a slim 37-vote lead when regular ballots were counted Tuesday. That expanded to 123 votes after provisional ballots were counted Thursday, and then to 140 after the machine recount Sunday.

"Because it's still really, really tight, very close and when an election is this close, it's time to make sure we're counting every single vote and make sure we're getting it right," said Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel, before the latest recount started.

Clelland was at the Supervisor of Elections Office this weekend, monitoring the review of ballots.

"We are here observing really, and it is interesting process that's here for a reason. So the voters have no question, in the end, who the winner is," said Clelland.   

Dorworth already has written a farewell letter to fellow House Republicans, saying he did not expect the recounts to change the results.

Republicans announced Monday afternoon that Rep. Steve Crisafulli, of Merritt Island, will be the new speaker-designate.