Jeff Clemens declared winner over Mack Bernard in State Senate 27 recount

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. -- Days after the State Senate 27 race between Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens was too close to call, a manual recount on Saturday showed Clemens had won by 17 votes.

Both candidates stood by for about 12 hours on Saturday watching election office staff pour over the nearly 25,000 ballots cast.

The results come a day after an machine recount showed the race in Clemens's favor by 29 votes.

Clemens said he looks forward to putting the recount behind him and getting down to work in Tallahassee.

"It was perhaps the worst day of my life. There's nothing worse than waiting around 12 hours to hear what your fate is. All the hard work that you and your team put in and all the people that came through for you, it was a tough day but in the end I feel good about how it ended up and it's a validation for all the hard work my team did," said Clemens.

Bernard did not specify his next move and does have the option of challenging the results.

"We haven't had a chance to really take a look at to make sure that all the will of the people have been satisfied. Our goal is to always make sure that all the voters who voted on elections day, early voting, absentee ballot and through provisional ballots casted and counted," said Bernard.

Palm Beach County supervisor of elections Susan Bucher said she is hoping there is not a challenge. She said both candidates had their lawyers present and had representatives watching over as each ballot was recounted.

Bucher said if Bernard chooses to challenge the results, he must file the proper paperwork within 10 days.

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