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Three recounts needed in fire district race

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000


CLEARWATER -- The presidential election race wasn't the only contest that hinged on the outcome of a recount Wednesday. In Pinellas County, Tuesday's apparent winner for a seat on the Pinellas Suncoast Fire District board of commissioners found out that she actually lost.

The first ballot count Tuesday night showed Janet Hoppe beating her political rival, Robert McEwen, by exactly one vote, 429 to 428.

Both candidates were surprised by the closeness of the race and said they would wait for a mandatory recount before fully celebrating.

It was good that they waited.

Wednesday, amid a more massive recount of presidential ballots, election officials conducted not one recount of the fire board election, but three -- with the last by hand.

The machine recounts showed Hoppe gaining one vote and McEwen gaining two votes. The final hand count, however, added another four votes to McEwen's total, giving him a clear win in the fire board Seat 1 race with the final total 434 votes for McEwen and 430 votes for Hoppe.

Joan Brock, deputy supervisor of elections, said the election counting machines missed first three and then an additional four votes because voters had failed to fully punch out the holes in their ballots.

"It's been quite an election. We're going to be in the history books," she said, referring to the daylong countywide recount of the intensely fought presidential race.

Hoppe and McEwen also fought a tough and sometimes acrimonious race. The two candidates ran against each other three times before for mayor of Indian Shores. Hoppe, 69, won her race for mayor in 1988, but lost to to McEwen, 71, in 1990 and again in 1998. McEwen recently retired as Indian Shores mayor. The fire district's board members serve four-year terms and are paid $150 a month.

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From the Times election desk

Presidential

  • Recount begins as world watches
  • What a difference 12 hours makes
  • Voters statewide say they had poll troubles
  • Why the networks' call kept changing
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • Media rechecking their crystal balls
  • Wall Street joins nation in long wait
  • Election mania has everyone talking, waiting
  • Remarks by George W. Bush, Al Gore on the election returns
  • The victor must earn legitimacy by uniting
  • A Rather long night
  • Inside the Electoral College
  • Overseas ballots suddenly crucial
  • Presidential results
  • Election results
  • U.S. Senate winners
  • Governor winners
  • Election briefs
  • U.S. House winners
  • State

  • A night the Bushes won't forget
  • Funding for train mystifies officials
  • Capitol leaders predict less partisan session
  • Disclosure's role debated
  • Pinellas

  • Gore vote says GOP has edge, not a lock, in Pinellas County
  • Three recounts needed in fire district race
  • Vote shocks senior center's fans
  • Hillsborough

  • Gore won city; Bush swept the suburbs
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • House District 60 race won by smallest margin
  • Easterling says knocking on doors helped her win
  • To their regret, non-voters learn: It matters
  • So much to count, so little time
  • Pasco

  • Decision on sheriff brings prayers, tears
  • Cannon became his 'own worst enemy'
  • Recount gives a new name to fatigue: Chad
  • Cannon has only himself to blame for his downfall
  • Two new commissioners aren't passive
  • Hernando

  • Democrats: New force in Hernando
  • Voters discard politics of race in picking elections supervisor
  • All around the county, the election is the word
  • Recount dominates day after elections
  • Citrus

  • Citrus first in state to give results
  • Hickey hopes to mend rifts
  • Republicans fare well with Citrus voters
  • Recount blurs result in Crystal River race
  • Collector, appraiser victors are grateful
  • Election results
  • Votes hit close to home for these two
  • Activist was wild card in race
  • Results leave many befuddled
  • Council races hinged on past contretemps


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