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Caruso Bonfiglio
Mike Caruso and Jim Bonfiglio may be facing another nasty rematch.

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Mike Caruso-Jim Bonfiglio margin remains razor-thin as recount looms

Republican Mike Caruso maintains a narrow 124-vote lead over Democrat Jim Bonfiglio.

As the bulk of post-election tabulation attention turns to Broward County, the state House District 89 race race sits in hand recount range itself.

The contest reportedly dropped this morning to a margin of 37 votes before coming back to the 124-vote lead as of 9:30 a.m. But that’s still a margin of about 0.16 percent.

Florida law calls for an automatic recount of votes if the margin falls with 0.5 percent. If the margin then remains with 0.25 percent, that triggers a hand recount of votes.

This happens as Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott, looking toward a recount process in his race with Democrat Bill Nelson, has filed a lawsuit regarding the transparency and handling of under- and over-votes cast in the county.

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Caruso told the Palm Beach Post he’s been uncomfortable with the “ballot duplication” process where elections officials recreate spoiled ballots.

“I was uncomfortable with that myself, people marking ballots with pens out of sight,” Caruso told the newspaper. “We can’t be sure that nothing nefarious happened.”

But Bonfiglio for his part has praised Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher.

“It’s been a complete, open process,” Bonfiglio told the Post. “I think Susan Bucher has done a fantastic job. I’m sure the democratic process will play itself out and all the votes will be counted.”

District 89 lies entirely within Palm Beach County.

Bucher herself has not spoken with media about the process.

Elections officials face a noon deadline on the first tabulation of votes cast in the Tuesday general election.

Caruso, watching the elections process closely for obvious reasons, says he’s seen Palm Beach officials put more than 300 new votes into the pool and rejected 932 votes. Those ballots could be from anywhere in the county, not necessarily in the House district.

But the tabulation has statewide stakes as well, with the Senate election, Governor’s race and Agriculture Commissioner contest all sitting within mandatory recount margins right now.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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