An automatic recount Wednesday morning in the race for a Defiance County commissioner has confirmed the leader as the winner.

David Kern was officially declared the Republican nominee by the Defiance County Board of Elections in a four-candidate GOP primary for one seat.

He now moves on to face Democrat Diane Mayer in November. She was unopposed for her party’s nomination this spring.

Because the difference in Kern’s race between himself and the second-place finisher (Patty Schafer) was less than one half percent of the total votes cast in the race, an automatic recount was conducted Wednesday by the Defiance County Board of Elections. Kern led Schafer by 19 votes after results from “Election Day” (April 28) were added to the votes that arrived in the mail through the end of May 8.

Officials found no changes Wednesday after counting the required 5% of the total vote — utilizing precinct Highland Township A — so they stopped the recount and declared Kern the winner. The results already had been certified by the four-member elections board on May 12.

“We were already certified last week, so this was to verify,” explained Defiance County Board of Elections Director Tonya Wichman, noting that “everything was exactly” as it was last week.

The final official tally in the race: Kern, 1,547; Schafer, 1,528; Otto Nicely, 1,128; and Joe Schindler, 414.

“The stress is definitely gone,” said Kern during an interview Wednesday with The Crescent-News. “We’re definitely excited and ready to move on to November. We are going to take a little time off to regroup and spend some time with the family since we were on the road so much the last couple months. Here soon we’re start hitting it (campaigning) hard again ... and gearing up for November. Maybe we’ll take a few weeks off, then start slowly. It all kind of depends on how this all goes with the COVID-19 pandemic ... .”

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