OLDSMAR — With two candidates vying for a single council seat, Oldsmar’s 2021 municipal election didn’t boast the juice of a mayoral race or the buzz generated by a multi-seat, multi-candidate showdown.
But by the time the final votes were tallied March 9, the Seat 1 contest between political newcomers Pamela Settle and Steve Graber wound up being one of the closest in the city’s history.
According to unofficial results from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, Graber led Settle by just eight votes, 1,040-1,032, the morning after Election Day, a margin so narrow it triggered an automatic recount.
“Last night’s margin was close enough (8 votes) to trigger an automatic machine recount,” Mayor Eric Seidel posted to his Facebook page Wednesday morning, per the City Clerk. “The supervisor of elections will conduct a recount on Friday (March 12). We will post the notice at City Hall and on the (city) website as soon as we receive it. Should the machine recount result in a .25% margin, then there will be a manual recount.”
For the two candidates — Graber, an attorney who is involved with several civic boards, and Settle, a magazine publisher who is also very active in the community — they have no choice but to patiently wait another few days for the results to be finalized after months on the campaign trail.
“If you haven’t seen or heard, the election was really close,” Settle wrote on Facebook the next morning. “In fact, 8 votes close at the moment and not in my favor.”
Settle went on to state, “To my supporters, volunteers and donors, we ran a great race. It’s not over until it’s over, so I will wait until Friday to see what happens to say anything official,” and she ended her post by commending her opponent.
“Two great candidates showed up for Oldsmar, and if the results stand as they are today, I’m confident my opponent will do his best job to serve our city,” Settle wrote.
When contacted for comment about the results, Graber deferred making any remarks until after the final vote count.
“I can’t give any comment since the vote is so close,” he said by phone on Election Night, noting he was in “need of some sleep and for it to be Friday.”