In what is likely to be the closest outcome of any legislative race this season, Miami Gardens Rep. Barbara Watson edged out North Miami Beach Rep. John Patrick Julien in the contest for House District 107 by a narrow 13 votes, according to a manual recount Saturday by Miami Dade County officials.
Watson and Julien, both freshmen Democrats, were drawn into the same district during the painful redistricting process last session that pitted a handful of incumbents into the same districts because of new redistricting rules.
Because the margin was so narrow, state election officials ordered a manual recount by 3 p.m. Sunday. Watson now faces two write-in candidates in the November general election.
Watson's victory came despite Julien's nearly three-to-one fundraising advantage. Watson, a former vice mayor of Miami Gardens and a member of the city council, raised and spent about $30,000 while Julien, a former member of the North Miami Beach city council raised nearly $107,000 and spent $82,000 by the last report.
The Florida Democratic Party sent out a statement congratulating Watson on Saturday but Division of Elections spokesman Chris Cate could not confirm the results.
A recount report filed by the Miami Dade Division of Elections late Saturday and posted on the county web site Sunday, showed that Watson received 50.06 percent of the 10,551 votes cast, or 5,282 votes, while Julien won 5,269 votes or 49.94 percent. Download Hse107-recount
Both candidates relied on absentee voteres for nearly one fifth of their total. There were 1,111 absentee ballots cast for Watson and 1,037 for Julien.