In HD 15, Jay Fant leads Paul Renner by three votes, manual recount set for 10 a.m.

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Only three votes separate Jacksonville business executive Jay Fant and attorney Paul Renner in the Florida House District 15 Republican primary.

As of Thursday, with a count of absentee and provisional ballots, the bitterly contested race remains the same as election night: Fant with 5,962 votes and Renner with 5,959.

Duval County Elections Supervisor Jerry Holland tells Meredith Rutland of the Florida Times-Union that there will be another recount on Friday.

The Fant/Renner primary became one of the most expensive races in the state, with $699,000 combined.

“Anytime you go into an election that is this close, it gets nerve-wracking,” said Fant campaign spokesperson Brett Doster.

Attorneys for both parties were at the Duval County Election Canvassing Board Thursday night, the group that decides which ballots to include or reject.

After approving unofficial results Thursday night, the board sent the ballots to the state, which will decide on a recount.

Florida law requires a recount by machine if election results are within .5 percent. If the race comes under .25 percent, hand recounts are also required for certain ballots, a process that could begin 10 a.m. Friday and continued until all ballots are double-checked, Holland added.

Still awaiting inspection are 143 votes, Rutland writes, including ballots without a definite mark. Elections officials will scrutinize them for any marks – circles or check marks – suggesting a selection.

A recount is also pending for the race in Duval County School Board District 2. In that race, three votes also separate Theresa Graham, with 2.445 votes and Sam Hall, with 2,448 votes.

Scott Shine received 5,789 or 45.77 percent of all votes cast.

Shine is under 50 percent plus one vote, so a runoff with the second-place candidate will take place in November.

Recounts for both races will cost up to $100,000, Holland said, including temporary employee and other overtime expenses.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.