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Rouson, Narain Race For State Senate Headed For Recount

UPDATED: Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.

It appears we won't know the official winner of the State Senate District 19 race until at least Friday.

Only 61 votes separated the apparent winner, State. Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, and State Rep. Ed Narain of Tampa.

That's well within the threshold of one-half of 1 percent needed to trigger a recount.

Meredith Beatrice, communications director for the Florida Division of Elections, says a "machine recount" is automatically triggered if the numbers are less than that amount. She says they won't know the official tally until all ballots are delivered to the Division from elections officials in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties by noon Friday.

Here's the unofficial results from the state Division of Elections:

Credit Florida Division of Elections


It was getting into the wee hours Tuesday night, as just about every primary contest was being decided - except District 19. The majority-minority district stretches across Tampa Bay to include urban areas of St. Petersburg and Tampa. Late into the evening, Darryl Rouson was holding a slim lead over Ed Narain. Rouson declared victory - but it might have to go to a recount.

"Well, recounts happen in politics. You can never overrule them," Rouson said. "And if it's entitled to happen, then it'll happen. But at this moment, the voters have spoken. And I trust the voters, like I've trusted them from the very moment I announced for this election."

Narain said at his election watch party at the Tampa Heights Civic Center that he expects a recount.

Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News
Signed placard at Ed Narain's election watch party in Tampa Heights

"Nobody thought it would be this close. We knew it would be a couple of percentage points," he said. "So either which way, we're in recount territory, so we're going to take a look and see what needs to be done - just to make sure the counts are correct."

The winner of the heavily Democratic 19th District would be favored against Republican John Houman in the general election.

While Rouson handily won Pinellas County, he finished fourth in Hillsborough County.

He thinks that if his win is official, he'll be able to unite Democrats on both sides of the Bay behind him in November.

"We're going to visit Hillsborough, we're going to do it like I've done the four counties that I've represented for the last eight years," Rouson said at his election watch party in St. Pete. "I've been a bridge traveler as well as a bridge builder, and I'm going to continue to do that. Hillsborough will know that I will represent them fairly."

State elections officials have to automatically order a machine recount if two candidates are within one-half of 1 percent of each other. That decision might take a couple of days.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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