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Challenge to Clemens-Bernard Senate race likely

Rep. Mack Bernard will likely challenge the razor-thin Senate primary race won by Rep. Jeff Clemens this month, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Bernard's attorney, former Republican legislator Juan-Carlos Planas, confirmed that a court challenge could be filed soon. Clemens, D-Lake Worth beat Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, by 17 votes in the primary. More than 24,000 votes were cast, and the final tally was determined in a recount.

It is one of several close South Florida races that have been questioned due to issues with absentee ballots.

Rep. Patrick Julien, D-North Miami, said he would challenge the result of his primary race against Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens. That race was decided by a 13-vote margin, after a recount. Julien alleges voting irregularities may have skewed the result.

A spokesperson for Clemens said the challenge to the result was being pushed by Republicans.

"This race was counted, then recounted, and then hand counted. All three times Jeff Clemens won and the Supervisor of Elections has certified the results," said Clemens' spokesperson, Kevin Cate. "It's unfortunate that Republicans will not stop meddling in this Democratic primary, having already spent almost half a million dollars."