WATERVILLE — The town's mayoral race this year has proven that every vote counts.
Councilman Loyd Smith is advancing to the Nov. 5 general election. He scraped by Councilman Chuck Driver, receiving 124 votes (29.59%) to Driver's 123 votes (29.36%).
Smith joins Councilwoman Jill Thompson, who took the lead in the Aug. 6 primary with 149 votes (35.56%). The two are seeking to replace retiring Mayor Royal DeVaney.
A recount was held Wednesday in the Douglas County Commission office in Waterville, but the results didn't change. The Douglas County Canvassing Board certified the recount that day.
Douglas County Auditor Thad Duvall said recounts are mandatory when the vote difference between candidates is less than half a percent. Duvall, who's been in office for over 20 years, said he remembers a few other recounts — two statewide and two local — but none in Waterville.
JD Greening, who had already dropped out of the mayoral race, received 18 votes (4.3%). There were also five write-in votes, constituting 1.19%.
Voter turnout for the race was 54%, Duvall said.
Smith said he and Driver attended Wednesday's recount and shook hands afterward. He said he didn't expect the results to be so close but will use the fact that every vote matters in campaigning for the general election.
"I have peace of mind now that the primary's over," he said.
Driver said the close vote showed he had support in the community. He won't be endorsing anyone but said both final candidates are qualified.
"I'm perfectly fine with it," he said. "I just look at it this way: whatever's meant to be will be."