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A supporter of Mayor Jerry Sanders ran into the middle of the ballroom at the Westgate Hotel with the early results, and aides and supporters went bonkers. The first round of results from the Registrar of Voters showed Sanders had gotten 52 percent of the vote.
His camp thought they could pull off an outright win tonight if Sanders grabbed 47 percent of the early votes. Sanders aides said these are votes that were cast three weeks ago, at the height of Francis’ polling popularity, before Sanders began his television advertising and before the news hit that the city’s credit rating had been restored.
“We are cautiously optimistic that we’re going to win this tonight,” Sanders said. He continued: “This evening appears to be going in my — in our — favor.”
Tom Shepard, Sanders’ campaign consultant, told me his polling showed the mayor had a “significant” lead in ballots cast today.
Here are the full results from the first reporting:
Jerry Sanders: 51.97 percent
Steve Francis: 37.86 percent
Floyd Morrow: 6.37 percent
Eric Bidwell 2.29 percent
James Hart 1.11 percent