Thrills and disappointment for incumbents


Telegraph Editor

Incumbents won the night in Bradford’s county commission races, but not so in the District 5 race for school board.

Voters gave Kenny Thompson and Danny Riddick an additional term on the county commission, with Thompson receiving nearly 58% of the votes cast and Riddick receiving almost 41%. Riddick’s nearest challenger in the four-way race was Tom Germano, who came close to 36%. Larry Davis was far behind Thompson at around 32%.

Lynn Melvin managed a landslide in the school board race, receiving more than 64% of the votes.

Far fewer people voted in the Starke commission races, but the wins were decisive for incumbent Danny Nugent in District 1 and Andy Redding, who will replace retiring Commissioner Wilbur Waters in District 5. 

Union County had two commission races on the ballot, and incumbent Channing Dobbs held onto his seat with nearly 82% of the vote in District 2. The District 4 race was much closer, with Mac Johns coming out in top at 38%, which amounted to 36 more votes than Lacey Cannon.

Voters also agreed to continue paying for library services with a dedicated portion of their property taxes. Almost 81% voted in favor of the referendum.

Two school board members in Clay, Janice Kerekes and Tina Bullock, lost their seats to challengers Erin Skipper and Michele Hanson. Ashley Gilhousen was reelected with more than 69% of the vote. Betsy Condon held onto her county commission seat, and voters chose Alexandra Compere to join the board by a large margin, as well.

All three counties overwhelmingly supported Democrat Val Demings to run against Sen. Marco Rubio in the fall. They also preferred Charlie Crist to run against Gov. Ron DeSantis over Nikki Fried. 

Kat Cammack maintains undeniable support among local Republican voters. Bradford Democrats sided with challenger Danielle Hawk, but Union Democrats voted for Tom Wells. Hawk easily won the nomination districtwide.

Republican voters in Clay helped nominate Aaron Bean to run for Congress, while Bobby Payne will continue to represent them in the State House. Democrat Lashonda Holloway was leading Tony Hill by a few hundred votes at press time in a tight race for the nomination to run against Bean.

Republicans selected Wilton Simpson for Commissioner of Agriculture in all three counties, and he won the nomination. Democrats in all three counties supported Naomi Blemur, and she won the nomination as well.

Democrats in Clay backed Aramis Ayala for Attorney General, while Braford and Union went with Jim Lewis. Ayala won the nomination.

A runoff for circuit judge was set between Sean Brewer and AuBroncee Martin. Martin enjoyed very little local support compared to Brewer.