Collier Democrats, Republicans differ on need for recount

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - The margin of error is razor-thin in election results for some of Florida's biggest races - for governor, U.S. Senate and Agriculture Commissioner. But while state law says a recount is most likely in order, some party leaders in Collier County differ on the need for a recount.

Collier County Democratic Party chair Yudy Barbera said she was obviously disappointed when her party's candidates for governor and Senate - Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson, respectively - were edged out by Republicans Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott in the polls. But talk of a recount gives her hope.

"We can't believe we're in such a close margin," Barbera said. "Everybody should feel secure that all attempts were made to count every vote. And then whatever happens, we'll have to accept it."

Scott Lepore, past president of the Collier County Republican Club, said that while the percentage points might be close, he believes that the margin of error represents thousands of votes that are pro-GOP.

"When you have thirty-to-fifty thousand vote spreads in the electronic age, I just don't see anything changing," Lepore said. "It just seems to me to be a waste of taxpayer money."

Florida is no stranger to tight political races, but Lepore believes that the contests for governor and U.S. Senate would not have been so close had Hurricane Michael not disrupted so many lives in the panhandle a month ago.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if there hadn't been a hurricane, those people could have concentrated on voting," Lepore said. "They vote heavily Republican, and we wouldn't have this 30-to-50,000 vote balance."

Barbera said that a recount is important for voter confidence, but that it's time for Democrats to look ahead to the next election cycle.

"As the Chair of the Collier Democratic Party, I'm already thinking about 2020," she said.

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