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BROOKSVILLE - High school teacher and coach Brent Gaustad and local NAACP chapter president Frankie Burnett were separated by a single vote, with absentee ballots outstanding in the Group 3 race for City Council late Tuesday.
In the other contest, David Pugh Jr. handily defeated a much more experienced politician, Pat Brayton, to win the City Council Group 2 seat Tuesday, according to preliminary results.
With the tight margin separating Gaustad and Burnett, the race will likely be decided by a mandatory recount today.
For Pugh, a political newcomer, getting 64 percent of the votes was gratifying.
"I haven't felt this excited since the birth of my children," Pugh said. "I had a huge amount of support from some great people. I don't think could have done it without them."
Pugh, a project manager with Civil-Tech Consulting Engineers Inc., said he expected a tough race from Brayton, a former two-term council member. He will complete the four-year seat being vacated by Vice Mayor Joe Bernardini.
Gaustad, 43, a teacher and coach at Hernando High, was leading in a three-way race that included Robert Osmond, 34, owner of Osmond Printing Inc. in Brooksville.
"It's very intense," said Gaustad, who said he was told that there were about 350 absentee ballots still to be counted. "We're just trying to hold our heads above water."
When contacted late Tuesday, Burnett said he was waiting for the results before he commented.