Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Welsh awaits official rule

This one isn't completely over, Monroe County.

On Wednesday, the unofficial final results for the School Board District 3 race indicated that Ed Davidson had beaten John Welsh by 146 votes, a number that wasn't announced until the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

But Welsh, the former Key West High principal, said he would wait until the supervisor of Election Office closed the contest for good, counting up about 120 provisional ballots filled out at the polls by voters whose eligibility wasn't immediately known Tuesday.

In other words, Welsh kindly refused to concede. But he wasn't exactly counting on being sworn in come January and said he won't demand a recount.

"If I was a gambling man, I don't think the outcome will change," said Welsh. "That's a lot of votes to make up. I'll just wait until Friday and see what happens."

Davidson received 50.05 percent of the countywide nonpartisan election, while Welsh took 49.60 percent. A write-in candidate, Sloan Bashinsky, grabbed 115 votes.

The elections canvassing board will meet at 9:30 a.m. Friday to determine the results of the 120 provisional ballots, said Supervisor of Elections-elect Joyce Griffin.

"Right now, we have unofficial final results," said Griffin, who formerly was assistant supervisor of elections.

Under state law, if the margin between candidates is less than half of 1 percent, a recount is mandatory.

The District 3 seat has belonged to Duncan Mathewson since 2004.

Name recognition in the Middle and Upper Keys worked for Davidson, said Welsh, who had his own popularity, having worked for 35 years in the School District.

Davidson outspent Welsh by almost 2-to-1, collecting $33,170 for his campaign. Welsh raised $16,453, which included $5,315 in contributions from Florida Keys Republican clubs.

Welsh, who openly disliked asking people for campaign cash, said he would have taken money from the Democrats if they had offered, while Davidson fumed over GOP donations being used in a nonpartisan race.

Bashinsky, a blogger and constant School District critic, collected 115 votes, and on Tuesday night lamented the fact that his campaign affected the election's outcome.

If declared the winner, Davidson will take office in January, becoming the only new member of the five-man board.

On Tuesday night, 20-year incumbent Andy Griffiths won his sixth term, fending off a challenge by Yvette Mira-Talbott, who finished with 39 percent of the county.

Griffiths, who financed his own bid, called this campaign his toughest one since 1992. He and Mira-Talbott had traveled up and down the 126 miles of the Florida Keys since spring.

Mira-Talbott relied on a long list of individual contributors while investing some of her own money as well.

Griffiths spent $22,831, while Mira-Talbott spent $20,875, according to the latest reports maintained by the Supervisor of Elections.

Griffiths held onto about $4,000 in the end, while Mira-Talbott spent all but $3.16.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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