The votes were recounted, but the outcome remained the same.
Incumbent County Criminal Court No. 3 Judge David Garcia is the victor in his Republican primary election campaign against Denton County prosecutor George Mitcham.
“We ran a hard race and we did our best to convince the voters I was the right choice, but the voters didn’t agree,” Mitcham said Friday.
He said he phoned Garcia to congratulate him on Friday. In addition, Mitcham vowed to keep working for the Republican Party and for candidates with contested races in November.
Mitcham lost to Garcia, according to results from the March 4 election. But after trailing by 39 votes at the end of election night and then trailing by only 29 votes after the provisional ballots and mail-in ballots were counted, Mitcham said the race was too close for him.
After the recount, Garcia ended up with 13 more votes and Mitcham ended up with 17 more, but the difference in the end was 25 more voters for Garcia, giving him the win.
“It was obviously a close race and I commend [Mitcham] for running a campaign on issues and not slinging mud and that is what it should be about: why you think you can be a better judge or why you think you deserve another four years,” Garcia said. “I will do my best to make sure I never betray the trust placed in me.”
Mitcham filed for the recount with the Denton County Republican Party on March 14, paying a $15,900 deposit. According to Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips, $7,174.70 was needed to pay for the recount. The rest was returned to Mitcham.
“We had about 40 volunteers made up from people that were sent by Garcia and Mitcham and by the Republican Party that made up our recount team, and I was thoroughly impressed by the serious nature with which they took their tasks and the speed with which they did it,” Phillips said.
He said the ballots were counted in two days with an average of 10 teams going at the same time.
Phillips said the small fluctuations in vote totals are normal within the election system.
“Our system changes because election night you haven’t read all of the votes yet; you still have provisional voters, it always changes after initial election night votes,” he said.
Each ballot is counted electronically, so for paper ballots where people may have picked a candidate and then changed their minds and made some kind of notation, the computer may not count the ballots.
And as for a manual hand count, Phillips said, as good as the teams are, there will be some measure of human error involved.
“I have talked to many people over the last few years who, before electronic voting, used to be on the teams to count by hand,” Phillips said. “They said we would count three or four times and every time would get a different answer. That’s the human element of it. I am very happy with the results; it’s a confirmation the system works.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.