One vote. That’s all it took for Ray Caranci, a gay man, to unseat Daniel Sohn, a bisexual man, in a race for Haverhill’s Town Council.
After all the votes were counted from the March 17 election Caranci led Sohn by one vote 153-152. But because it was so close there was an automatic recount, which turned up the same result later that week.
At that point the race hinged on one potential uncounted ballot from overseas. As long as it was received by March 27 it would have been counted. Alas, it never came.
Sohn, 29, quickly conceded the election last Friday.
“While this was not the outcome many were hoping for, I take great pride in the democratic process and want to assure the people and organizations that supported my campaign that there are still many paths forward for me and more opportunities to represent you and the issues you care about,” Sohn wrote in a Facebook post. “It is with great humility that I concede my re-election campaign [...] and congratulate Mr. Caranci on his election.”
In his Facebook post concession, Sohn said he would be stepping back from elected public service while taking pride in his two years on the council.
“I can honestly say that ‘The People’ were the only special interest group I represented. Each vote I made on the dais was representative of the people that elected me,” he said. “You can take that to the bank.”
Caranci, 59, works for the City of West Palm Beach as a landscape planner and has lived in the town for 15 years. He’s been with his husband for 31 years.
Some of the issues Caranci wants to focus on while in office include safety; common sense code enforcement; neighborhood stability; responsible budgeting; long-term town planning; better information availability and bringing back town events.
“If there is one thing that I have found through the years is that we want dedicated invested home owners to lead our town government so we can feel secure they are looking out for our interests, and can trust them to do their best in making thoughtful and experienced decisions,” Caranci wrote on his election Facebook page.
Sohn recently made history when he married his partner in the Florida Capitol building in Tallahassee, the first time a same-sex marriage had been performed there.
According to Sohn his time on the council hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“I held my colleague’s feet to the fire and they didn’t like that. I forced them to become more active than they have been. I’ve challenged their way of thinking,” Sohn told SFGN before the election. “I’m not a rubber stamp politician. I'm not a ‘yes’ man. I want to continue to be that lightning rod for change.”
Haverhill is a small municipality in Palm Beach County located west of West Palm Beach near the Palm Beach International Airport. There are just 2,000 residents living in the town.
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