It's official: Charles Smith wins by 4 votes over Michael Gallen for Manatee County Commission seat

MANATEE — After a day of recounts, Charles B. Smith still had four more votes than incumbent Michael Gallen in a squeaker of a Manatee County Commission race.

After an official recount that took much of the day Thursday, elections officials declared Smith the winner in District 2, a razor-thin victory, with 1,029 votes to Gallen’s 1,025 votes.

A third candidate, Corie Holmes, got 884. All three candidates are Democrats.

Smith said he was satisfied with the recount of the primary election results.

"It was a clean recount," he said. "I think my voters voted for change."

Earlier in the day, Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett and members of the Manatee County Canvassing Board observed electronic voting equipment testing, and then invited the candidates to view questionable ballots during a manual recount at the elections office in Bradenton.

A final count of provisional ballots ended the recount, with Smith hanging onto a miniscule lead.

The canvassing board, comprised of Bennett, Manatee County Commission Chairman Larry Bustle and Manatee County Court Judge Mark Singer, is the official body that decides all election issues.

Smith will face write-in candidate Troy Thomas in the Nov. 4 general election.

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