Feichthaler loses judge’s race by just 192 votes
Following a weekend recount at the Lee County Election Offices, incumbent Archie Hayward remains victorious over challenger Eric Feichthaler in the Group 4 Judge race.
Hayward retained the seat by a margin of 192 votes, or about a .28 percent difference over Feichthaler.
Hayward ended with 34,741 votes, while Feichthaler culled 34,549 votes, according to Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington.
The closest race of last week’s primary election, the vote was forced into a recount because Hayward’s margin of victory was less then a quarter or half of a percentage point.
By Florida law, a .50 percent victory requires a machine recount, while a victory of .25 percent requires a hand recount. Hayward culled 50.17 percent of the vote last week.
A brief technical misfire kept the recount from being completed Saturday.
Two offices were handling the recount, one counting the absentee ballots and the other the precinct ballots.
Harrington said a “thumb drive” that held the precinct ballots could not be read, and pushed the recount to Sunday morning.
The recount was completed by noon on Sunday, she said.
“They (the candidates) both thought it would be over Saturday but we wanted to make sure it was right instead of rushing it through,” Harrington added. “We wanted to make sure everything was accurate.”
Feichthaler said Monday that while disappointed with the loss, he was pleased he lost by only 192 votes to an incumbent judge.
He said he currently has no plans for the future other then to return to his private practice. He said he could not commit to anything beyond that at the moment.
“I have a real love for serving the public and meeting people … there could be something I might consider, but for now I don’t know,” he said.
Feichthaler praised the supervisor of elections and her office, saying the recount process was at once fascinating and frustrating.
Having to wait to Sunday for the results was a surprise, he said, but he was still happy with the process.
“It certainly added to the drama,” he said of the wait between Saturday and Sunday. “It was an exhausting week.”