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Trump wins FL Presidential Primary while two Naples elections head for recount

kgroovy via Flickr Creative Commons

Former President Donald Trump won Florida's Republican Presidential Preference Primary, Tuesday, by a wide margin with 81.2 percent of the statewide vote.

Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the race earlier this month, got 13.9 percent of the vote, compared to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who dropped out of the race in January, and received 3.7 percent of the vote in his home state.

Voter turnout statewide was relatively low at 21.57 percent according to preliminary data reported by the Florida Division of Elections.

Local elections in Naples were another story, with the mayoral race and a city council seat now headed for a recount.

Preliminary results from the Collier County Supervisor of Elections shows incumbent Mayor Teresa Heitmann leading challenger and former city councilman Gary Price by just 12 votes. Heitmann garnered 3,257 votes, or 38.1 percent of the vote, compared to 3,245 votes for Price or 38.1 percent of the vote.

Mayoral candidate and current Naples city councilman Ted Blankenship trailed behind with 2,044 votes, or 23.9 percent of the vote.

Former City Councilwoman Linda Penniman and former high school football coach Bill Kramer won seats on the Naples City Council. Kramer is a newcomer to city council and garnered the highest support at the polls with 4,277 votes, or 20.3 percent of the vote.

Penniman garnered 4,160 votes, or 19.8 percent of the vote. She was the only one of the six city council candidates with prior experience on the council. She was previously elected in 2014 and served six years before resigning during her second term to address her husband’s health concerns.

Insurance agent Berne Barton won the third highest number of votes with 3,677 votes, or 17.5 percent of the vote, but family attorney Tony Perez-Benitoa was just 33 votes behind, triggering a recount in that race as well.

State law requires a recount when the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percent of total votes cast.

The Collier County Supervisor of Elections office says it expects to have more information later today (Wednesday.)

Meanwhile in Marco Island, two proposed city charter amendments were voted down. One would have increased city council members' compensation from the current $6,000 a year to $11,500 dollars. It would also increase the city council chairman's pay from $9,000 annually to $17,200. That proposal was shot down by 60.7 percent of Marco voters.

The second Marco Island city charter amendment proposed changing the titles of the city council chairman and vice chairman to mayor and vice mayor. That amendment was opposed by 54.2 percent of voters.

The next election on the horizon for Florida voters is the state’s primary election, which is different from the Presidential Preference Primary, and will be held August 20. The deadline to register to vote or change party affiliation for that election is July 22.

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