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Naples mayor and city council race hangs on Saturday recount

The race for mayor in Naples is heading for a recount after preliminary data revealed a razor-thin margin between incumbent Mayor Teresa Heitmann and former council member Gary Price.
Posted at 5:07 PM, Mar 20, 2024

NAPLES, Fla — The race for mayor in Naples is heading for a recount after preliminary data revealed a razor-thin margin between incumbent Mayor Teresa Heitmann and former council member Gary Price.

A recount was also triggered for the city council race.

Heitmann holds a slim lead of just 12 votes over Price following Tuesday's election, setting off a recount under state law.

The Supervisor of Elections Office told Fox 4 that the last time a recount was conducted was in 2018, and stated that this 12-vote difference marks a record-setting close race.

"If the results are within a half of one percent or less, that by law we're required to conduct a machine recount," said Collier County Supervisor of Elections Melissa Blazier.

Blazier outlined the rigorous process ahead, noting that approximately 8,600 ballots will undergo reanalysis.

"We have to retest our voting equipment that's going to be used for the actual machine recount, and once that's concluded, we will begin the machine recount," she explained.

Should the recount yield an even narrower result, the office will proceed with a hand recount.

"Recounts don't mean that something bad or wrong happened with an election. It truly means that we had two excellent candidates and the contest was close," Blazier emphasized.

The outcome of the recount will determine whether Naples will see a new mayor or maintain the status quo.

Heitmann, seeking a second term, has focused her platform on issues including public safety, water quality, hurricane recovery, and quality of life.

In contrast, Price, as stated on his website, prioritizes property rights, public safety, fiscal responsibility, and healthcare.

The Supervisor of Elections Office says that the recount will take place on Saturday, with results expected later the same evening.