TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida's primary election results became final Thursday, including three legislative races decided by 34 or fewer votes, although at least one of those may be contested.
The three-member Florida Elections Canvassing Commission, chaired by Gov. Rick Scott, met briefly to certify the results. Among them were easy top-of-the-ticket primary wins for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, who will challenge the incumbent Nelson on Nov. 6.
The certification followed automatic recounts in the three narrowly decided legislative contests.
In a Florida Senate race between two Democratic state representatives, Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth defeated Mack Bernard of Delray Beach by 17 votes.
A Democratic House primary also pitted two sitting representatives against each other due to redistricting. Barbara Watson of Miami Gardens defeated John Patrick Julien by 13 votes in that contest.
Dr. Cary Pigman, an Avon Park physician, defeated former Rep. Randy Johnson of Sebring by 34 votes in a Republican House primary.
Johnson is not contesting his loss. Julien said he's not conceding but hasn't yet decided whether to take his race to court. Bernard did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
"The process is more important than anyone's political aspirations," Johnson said. "It's America, and you can decide an election by one vote."
Pigman will face Democrat Crystal Drake of Moore Haven in House District 55, which covers parts of St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Highlands and Glades counties.
Absent a successful challenge, Clemens is virtually assured of a seat in the 40-member Senate because his only general election opposition in District 27 will be from a write-in candidate.
The former Lake Worth mayor had support from unions and ran as a progressive. Bernard, a lawyer and former Delray Beach city commissioner, stressed his ability to work with Republicans and drew support from business interests including the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida.
Watson also is a prohibitive favorite to win the House District 107 seat in November because her only opposition will be from a pair of write-in candidates.
Johnson said Pigman benefited from an infusion of campaign cash by the Republican-led House's leadership. He attributed that to a dispute over hurricane insurance he had with then-House Speaker Allan Bense in 2005. Johnson said he had bucked the insurance industry that had Bense's support. Incoming Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is Bense's son-in-law.
"That's politics," Johnson said.
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