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Jamison defeats Carter in High Springs election

W_-_High_Springs_Election_2012_Jamison_DSC_0248_copyCommissioner-elect Scott Jamison is congratulated by campaign supporters at a celebration after Jamison won the April 10 special election in High Springs.

HIGH SPRINGS – After a long High Springs election day, Scott Jamison celebrated an 86 vote lead over his opponent, Ann Carter, and a victory with nearly 59 percent of the vote.

When all votes had been tabulated, 503 people had cast their ballots in the April 10 special election to support their candidate of choice for Seat 5 on the City Commission.  After the polls were counted, Carter finished with 209 votes, and Jamison received 295 votes.

For a special election, Carter said there had been a great voter turnout. Barbara Martin, an election poll watcher, said the election was fair and done by the books, adding that everyone did a good job.

Despite Martin’s comment, High Springs City Clerk Jenny Parham said all the ballots will be recounted by hand because of a mix-up with the machine’s total numbers. The problem, she said, is not with the final vote count for each candidate, but the number of votes received. The machine provided a number that was one off from what the poll workers tallied as the correct number.

Parham said that even if the inconsistency had not happened, there would still have to be a post-election audit to check for discrepancies, but it would not have required a total recount.

Jamison will now assume city commission seat 5, which was vacated in January by former commissioner Eric May’s unexpected resignation.  At that time, May cited illegal activities within the city as his reason for resigning.

For both Jamison and Carter, this election was the first time they had run for political office.

“You don’t do it by yourself,” Carter said. “I’ve had a lot of support.”

Carter said that she is comfortable with the results, that she ran for election because she was concerned about what was happening with the town and felt that she had – and has – something to offer that would help the community.

“It was a great experience,” Carter said.

Carter said she doesn’t know a lot about Jamison, adding that Jamison was a “nice family man,” but personally, she wanted to win the election and bring the community together.

Prior to the results being announced, Jamison said he was confident, but worried. He thought a larger group of voters would benefit him in the end and hoped that the crowd would pick up toward the 7 p.m. poll closing.

“The hard part, as opposed to sports, is that I don’t dictate the outcome,” he said. It’s the unknown that makes it tough, he added.

Jamison said he felt like the special election had divided the community, more so than it had ever been.

“Regretfully, I think the line was drawn by certain individuals,” he said, adding that Carter was on one side of the line, while he stood on the other side. “I don’t think it’s good for the city,” he added.

After being elected, Jamison said he was humbled by the number of people that came out to support him.

“I’m going to do what’s best to warrant their trust,” he said, adding that he intends to do what is best for the city.

He thanked Carter for running a positive campaign.

High Springs Mayor Dean Davis said he was disappointed in the low voter turnout. “But it is a win- win situation,” he said, because “both candidates are good people.” Davis said that Jamison will do a good job on the commission.

Suzie Clarke, owner of the Wellness Spa in High Springs, said that rules and regulations had been disregarded by the current commission and that Carter reflects the views of those currently in office, adding “I think Scott’s win shows that people are a little disgusted.”

High Springs resident Linda Hewlett said, “I feel people want the government in High Springs to be more inclusive of different people’s views and opinions.”