UPDATE: After a recount, the results remain the same. The unofficial results will be made official today at 5:00 PM. Murphy and Altman will be sworn in at the next meeting on Tuesday, April 17th.
Due to the close margin of 8 votes between Matt Murphy and Joan Nelson Hook, state law F.S. 102.166 automatically triggers a recount process, according to the Pasco Supervisor of Election’s office. A recount will occur at 3 PM at a Canvassing Board Meeting for a machine recount. The meeting is open to the public and will convene at the Elections Service Center at 38283 McDonald Street in Dade City.
Unofficial results from the Supervisor of Elections office show that Peter Altman and Matt Murphy have won the two open seats on New Port Richey’s City Council as of results posted at 7:37 PM. Altman earned 452 votes for 19.64% of the vote while Murphy earned 20 votes shy of that at 432 votes and 18.77% of the vote. The top two vote earners in this race are elected. The results were close, however, as a third candidate, Joan Nelson Hook earned 424 votes for 18.43% of the vote, just 8 votes shy of Murphy’s result. Unofficial results are subject to change until the Supervisor of Elections releases official numbers.
Altman is a longtime resident of New Port Richey and has a long record of public service in New Port Richey and Pasco County. He served 3 terms previously as New Port Richey’s Mayor, is a former Pasco County Commission member and has worked for 18 years as a CPA. Altman said during his campaign that he thought the City’s alleyways are “horrendous” and wants to fix them up to make them “walkways for the people of the city.”
Murphy is the owner of Ferrell Power Company, a local electrical contractor. He spent more than 7 years on active duty as a civil engineer during Desert Storm and is a Gulf High School graduate. Murphy said during the campaign that he feels development has been moving east in Pasco and that New Port Richey has been forgotten in that process, something he hopes to fix.
2,301 votes were recorded, and the total voter turnout is being reported as 13.9%, but that number includes the Port Richey election. Based on previous years with the election in 2016 recording 1,847 votes and 2017’s Mayoral election recording 1,579 votes–this year’s results had more than 500 mores votes than the 2016 election–a significant increase.
Murphy and Altman will be sworn in to their office at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, April 17th at 7 PM at City Hall. They will serve a three year term expiring in April 2021 and each will then be eligible for two additional terms, with term limits placed at nine years. Altman and Murphy will replace outgoing council members Judy DeBella Thomas and Bill Phillips.
The next municipal election in New Port Richey is in April 2019 for another two seats on city council, currently occupied by Chopper Davis and Jeff Starkey. They are both eligible for one additional term before term limits take effect.