In the end, two men shook hands Friday in a dimly lit warehouse in Riviera Beach, their battle for a spot on the Lantana Town Council settled by recount.
The two-vote lead political newcomer Edward Paul Shropshire held over five-term incumbent Thomas Deringer after Tuesday’s election — tiny enough to trigger an automatic recount — was confirmed in the recount.
Shropshire will move on to a three-year term on Town Council; Deringer will welcome his seventh grandchild.
Neither man seemed crushed — or even surprised — by the outcome.
They watched as a canvassing board examined ballots at the Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Riviera Beach, a massive warehouse located on Central Industrial Drive.
After a 30-minute recount, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher pulled the two men together to review the results. The two men looked them over, nodded and shook hands.
Shropshire interrupted congratulations and a media interview.
“I have to text my wife,” he said, pulling out his phone. “She’s going to be on pins and needles.”
Deringer said he knew what did him in.
“It was low voter turnout,” he said. “That was most of the problem.”
Lantana — with a population of 10,867, according to a 2013 count — has 6,239 voters, according to the election supervisor’s website. Only 522 of those voters cast a ballot in Shropshire-Deringer race. That’s a voter turnout of 8.4 percent, more than 5 percent less than the average for the 21 Palm Beach County cities that had elections Tuesday.
Shropshire got 262 votes. Deringer got 260.
Deringer, who served on the council for 15 years, said he accepts the verdict of the few voters who cast ballots in his race.
“I’ve got no problems,” he said. “He beat me by two. I needed to get a few more people to the polls.”
Shropshire said he earned the razor-thin victory.
“I worked very hard,” he said. “We walked all of Lantana’s streets. I got to see Lantana like I’ve never seen it.”
Shropshire told residents he wanted to be “the new voice for Lantana.”
“But more so, I want to be the new ear of Lantana,” he said.
Shropshire added that he’s looking forward to serving on the council. He said the quiet acceptance of the election results reflects how council members conduct themselves.
“We’ve always been cordial,” Shropshire said. “There’s not a lot of backbiting.”
The new council member said he already knows of one thing he wants to fix about Lantana: voter turnout in municipal elections.
“It’s really disturbing that so few people voted,” he said.
ELECTION 2017 ONLINE
- Complete 2017 municipal election coverage, PalmBeachPost.com/munielections