CAPE CORAL - UPDATE - With 9,305 votes seperating the two Bob Chilmonik lost his bid to win a seat on the Lee County school board race against incumbent Jeanne Dozier.
Despite trailing incumbent Jeanne Dozier by almost 5,000 votes, Bob Chilmonik says he hasn't given up.
"We're still waiting for the absentee ballots to come in," said former board member Chilmonik late Tuesday. "And we still have voters at precincts especially in Cape Coral which is traditionally one of my strong areas so we're still projecting a strong finish."
Just after midnight, with 88 percent of precincts reporting, Dozier lead Chilmonik 51-48 percent, with a 4,354 vote lead.
Chilmonik is waiting for the absentee votes to be counted.
On Tuesday, he attended a small watch party in Cape Coral. In attendance was board member Don Armstrong, who is one of Chilmonik's supporters.
Chilmonik centered his campaign on a return to neighborhood schools and a reduction in the district's transportation costs stemming from long school bus rides.
Back in August, he and Dozier split the primary vote forcing a run-off election.
At Dozier's watch party, it was a more festive atmosphere as the returns came back in her favor.
"I'm so thankful for all of the voters of Lee County and all of the support they've given me," said Dozier. "And we are just going to continue we're not going to take anything for granted. We're going to continue to watch and until the last vote has been counted."
Dozier, who picked up the endorsement of the teachers union, was first elected in November 2000.
Chilmonik and Dozier have been sharply critical of each other but both say trimming transportation should be a top priority for the district.
A recent community survey found residents also see that as an important issue.
"I think the most pressing issue right now is we've definitely got to look at the transportation issue," said Dozier. "The community has spoken that they want us to drill down and really look at that."
Chilmonik said there are three things that need to be addressed.
"Getting our reading standards up to the state, national levels," said Chilmonik. "The second issue of course is transportation and bringing schools closer to our students. And the third issue is accountability and how that money's spent."