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In the last hour of voting Tuesday night, Dean Black got word from a member of his team that the substantial Democrat lead in voting had been cut – to 32 votes.

Black was exultant. This was a big win.

For decades, Democrat voters have outnumbered Republicans in Florida.

Democrats still outnumber Republicans in registered voters in Duval County, although the Republicans have pulled even statewide.

That means if they turnout proportionately, Democrats would cast more votes.

The dead heat in votes cast was the result of weeks of intensive effort by the Duval County GOP.

Black said they made 14,000 phone calls Tuesday alone, after thousands of emails and robocalls in the previous weeks.

Tuesday’s vote was a special election to fill an at-large seat on the City Council after the death of Tommy Hazouri, a Democrat.

Two Republicans and two Democrats were on the ballot.

Republican Nick Howland and Democrat Tracye Polson were the top vote-getters and will compete in a runoff. Voter turnout was about 13 percent.

Black said he would support either Republican in the runoff but his main concern is that the local GOP gets credit for making a strenuous effort to get out the vote.

The numbers seem to support his case.

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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