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Mack Bernard likely to challenge 17-vote loss in court

by Andrew Abramson | August 29th, 2012

Mack Bernard, coming off an oh-so-close 17-vote loss to Jeff Clemens in this month’s State Senate 27 race, will likely challenge the result in court.

Juan-Carlos Planas, a former Republican state legislator and an attorney representing Bernard, said a challenge will likely be filed today or Thursday.

“You want to get it right, especially when people’s votes are on the line,” Planas said.

Planas said he could “neither confirm nor deny” sources who said Bernard has been getting affidavits from absentee ballot voters whose ballots were challenged. It could be enough to overcome Clemens’ 17 vote advantage. Planas said it will all be included in the challenge.

By state law, a campaign only has two grounds for challenge — either votes that should have been counted were not counted, or votes that shouldn’t have been counted were counted.

Bernard has until Tuesday to file a challenge, but Planas said he would like to have the challenge filed this week.

The likelihood of a challenge is angering the state’s Democratic establishment. Clemens and Bernard are both Democratic state representatives, but without a Republican in the race, much of the Republican and business community support went to Bernard.

Clemens did not immediately return a call for comment. Kevin Cate, a spokesman for Clemens’ campaign, said, “Republicans spent close to half a million dollars meddling in this Democratic state senate primary, and it looks like they’re still pushing for the results to be contested. … Democrats are urging Mack Bernard to start looking toward the future as to how he can best serve Florida going forward.”

Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux said in an e-mail, “The votes in this race have been counted, re-counted and then counted again by hand. The election has been certified and we again congratulate Senator-elect Jeff Clemens on this hard fought victory. This was a close election, but one in which the process worked thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Palm Beach County SOE. It is time we turned our focus and attention to November 6.”

Clemens initially won the race by 34 votes out of more than 24,000 votes cast. A recount then showed Clemens with a 17-vote win.

The winner of the primary will not technically win the seat until November. Clemens (or Bernard, if he wins in court) will face a write-in candidate in November.

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14 Responses to “Mack Bernard likely to challenge 17-vote loss in court”

  1. timtopper Says:

    the only think worse then a loser is a crying, whinning loser.
    Bernard is just one of Gov. Scott’s croonies in democrats clothing. Bernard, act like a man, and stop your crying. It was close, you lost, get over it.

  2. SID NEEDS TO GO Says:

    Good for Mack. He needs to challenge. Mack Bernard is a stand up guy and deserves to represent all the people instead of Clemens who’s mission is to throw our governor out of office.

  3. Charles Says:

    And how much money will this cost the taxpayers? I happen to agree that Mr. Bernard should man up and accept the outcome of the RECOUNT that he demanded. How many recounts do we need to pay for anyway?

  4. RUSerious Says:

    Jeff Clemens is a Senator constituents and Florida can be proud of. Mack Bernard needs to admit defeat and accept the fact that the best man one, and stop whining and wasting time and money.

  5. Critical Thinker Says:

    Nothing like bowing out gracefully Mack. After seeing this I would never support you for anything ever again.

  6. OldMinorityNewMajority Says:

    Go Mack Go! Keep them honest. We are doing what the repubs did in 2000 and 2004. slick sly sneaky stealth stealing…sick! I know your SOE…she took a bunch of absentee votes from blacks and Haitian Americans and dumped them or refused to count them. Why do white dems hate Haitians? Is it their values and work ethic? shameful

  7. Green Isle Victims Deserve Justice Says:

    Green Isle Victims deserve justice

  8. Spice63 Says:

    Benard is a no class guy backed by all the losers in Lake Worth.
    Mack has always been an embarassment to Haitians and is now continuing to not contribute anything positive to the Haitian community.

  9. Evern Williams Says:

    Mack Go quietly in the Sunset. You are a Republican Admit IT, And move on accept defeat. Run as a republican Next time ok….

  10. Noolin Says:

    Some of the comments on here are a disgrace. Mack Bernard is a stand up guy, as is Jeff Clemmons. Both good people. Attacking Bernard because he believes the provisional ballots were unfairly disqualified and he should have won the race is ridiculous. Let the court process play out. If its true that Haitian-AMERICAN voters were disenfranchised at the polling place, then we should know about it and prevent it in the future.

    For what its worth, that ballot couldn’t be more confusing. At some point, Susan Bucher needs to get off the dime and start using bubble sheets instead of that connect the arrow BS she still uses. Why is it so hard for the Palm Beach supervisor to get it right?

  11. Pastafarian Says:

    Clemens is NOT a Senator yet: someone put up a write-in candidate. As the primary was closed to me, I’m voting for the write-in.

  12. Huh?! Says:

    Noolin, how do you “disenfranchise” the Haitian-American vote in the provisional and absentee ballot process?
    Are you insinuating that the canvassing board knows which vote is a Haitian-American vote and which is a white vote?
    Don’t be ridiculously idiotic. The canvassing board looks at specific things. Did signatures match? What was the voter intent?
    Race is not one of them, and to see Mack Bernard and Al Jacquet try to fan the flames of racial outrage on Haitian radio is disgusting.
    Last time I looked, a ballot doesn’t have a box the voter checks to indicate their ethnicity.
    If Mack’s team hadn’t filled out those ballots for people like we here in Riviera Beach know he did, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  13. jebamoni4 Says:

    Haitians as a whole are hated by everybody in Palmbeach county. Their life style is different and blacks, whites and hispanics share one thing in common- all hate Haitians. Unfortunately, for deductive reasoning Bernard is hated by all. His political life is completely sealed however he tries!!

  14. Maxine McKenzie-Materowski Says:

    Best wishes State Senate Jeff Clemons on a job well done and as a real Democrate, it gives me great pleasure to continue to serve you and the true Democratic cause…to focus on the FACTs and support our honored President Barack Obama throughout his re-election and Beyond.

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