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Mitcham mulls recount in race

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Garcia defeats opponent by 39 votes in primary

In an election night that yielded two runoffs and a handful of lopsided wins, the race for County Criminal Court No. 3 was by far the closest in Denton County.

Incumbent Judge David Garcia won by just 39 votes over Denton County prosecutor George Mitcham in Tuesday’s primary election, the narrowest margin of any of the contested races despite heavy voter turnout in Denton County.

It was so close that Mitcham is mulling his recount options.

“I’m still thinking about it; I am not sure that vote is accurate,” Mitcham said Wednesday morning. “I am still weighing my options.”

Under state law, candidates can file for a recount up to two days after the canvassing of votes, which could come late next week at the earliest, according to Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips.

Dianne Edmondson, chairwoman of the Denton County Republican Party, said a change in results is rare.

“There are still a few overseas ballots out and some provisional ballots that could possibly change the outcome of the race; however, it is unlikely,” she said.

Garcia, 55, said he was satisfied with the results, which keep him on the bench that he has held since 1997 when he was first appointed to the seat. He then defeated Paul Johnson, who is now district attorney, in the 1998 Republican primary for his first four-year term. He has won re-election three times since.

“Judicial races are up to the voters and they voted,” he said. “I don’t know if I could have done anything different. I ran solely on my record. I didn’t attack or do anything slanderous. I just kept it about qualifications and what I have done for the 17 years. I have proudly represented the citizens of Denton County.”

More than 46,000 voters cast ballots in the primary election, up more than 11 percent from the number of ballots cast in the 2012 primary elections, which also included presidential candidates.

The sharpest increase in Denton County was among Democrats, with 7,162 casting ballots compared to 4,076 in 2012, an increase of more than 75 percent.

Republicans voted in far greater numbers, however, with 38,876 casting ballots in the primary, an increase of 4 percent over 2012.

Phillips said it was interesting that more ballots were cast in this primary than in the presidential primary.

“But if you go back to the last gubernatorial [election], in 2010 we cast less ballots,” he said. “It’s obvious the state and local races create more interest than national races.”

Phillips said the election night went off largely without a hitch.

“It went really smooth,” he said. “We got a lot of good comments about the election from voters.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.