The race to represent a big chunk of West Volusia in the Florida House of Representatives is headed for a recount, but if the results don’t change, a Republican will represent District 26 for the first time since the district was drawn in its current form.
As of noon Nov. 7, Republican candidate Elizabeth Fetterhoff held a razor-thin 72-vote lead over incumbent Democratic state Rep. Patrick Henry, giving her 50.06 percent of the vote to Henry’s 49.94 percent.
That’s well within the half-percent margin that triggers an automatic machine recount under state law. If the margin remains under a quarter of a percent after a machine recount, state law calls for a recount by hand.
The Volusia County Canvassing Board will meet at 2 p.m. Nov. 8 to consider 376 provisional ballots, which could also tip the scales in the District 26 race, as well as a couple of other nail-biters.
“I thought it would be close, and I am thrilled we were able to win,” Fetterhoff said. “I have a lot of great support in the community who were ready for a change.”
Considered a Democratic-leaning district, District 26 includes most of DeLand, the northern part of Orange City, and the mainland portion of Daytona Beach. The district was created in its current form after the 2010 census, and was first used in the 2012 elections.
Dwayne Taylor, a Democrat, represented the district until 2016, when Henry succeeded him. In 2016, Henry beat Republican candidate Michael Cantu 52.9 percent to 47.1 percent.
The Florida Legislature appears set to remain firmly in Republican hands for the next two years, although the final outcome of several close races will determine by what margin.
Republicans maintained control of the other three state House districts that cover parts of Volusia County: Districts 24, 25 and 27.
Republican candidate Tommy Wright was victorious in state Senate District 14, formerly held by state Sen. Dorothy Hukill, who died during her campaign for re-election. Fetterhoff was a former legislative assistant to Hukill.
The two other state Senate districts that encompass parts of Volusia County — Districts 9 and 7 — were not up for election this year, but are held by Republicans.
“We all worked very hard and made a great effort to get out and meet the voters. I think grassroots and a lot of shoe leather made the difference,” Fetterhoff said. “I love this community and am excited about this opportunity.”
The Beacon was unable to reach Henry for a reaction by press time Wednesday.