ECB Publishing, Inc.
Statewide, the big story on Tuesday night was the upset victory of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as the Democratic nominee for Governor. Not as surprising, although still noteworthy, was Congressman Ron DeSantis' victory over Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam as the Republican nominee for Governor.
Then there was Governor Rick Scott's easy win over businessman Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, an outcome that was almost a foregone conclusion. Scott now faces Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the fall.
At the local level, the race that captured attention - the only local race on the ballot for that matter - was that of Sheriff, with the field narrowing to four candidates after Tuesday's election. The winners in the primary were Republican Mac McNeill and Democrat Bill Massey. The two now face each other and No Party Affiliation (NPA) candidates Mike Fillyaw and Jerry Sutphin in November.
All told, 4,791 of the county's 9,704 registered voters cast votes in the primary, including voters registered as Independents or No Party Affiliation. Percentage-wise, according to the elections office, the turnout was 49.37 percent, giving Jefferson County the third highest turnout in the state. Only Liberty and Franklin counties did better, said Elections Supervisor Marty Bishop.
“The turnout was maybe down a little,” Bishop said. “I was expecting it to be a little more. But for an off-year primary, 50 percent is decent.”
Early and absentee voting also increased this election, with 1,065 such votes cast between Aug. 13-25, compared with 541 in the 2014 primary, attributed in large part to the high-profile Sheriff's race.
As of Wednesday, Aug. 29, the county had 9,728 registered voters. Of which 5,411 identified as Democrats; 3,170 as Republicans; and 1,147 were listed as “other.”
Come November, three other local races besides the Sheriff's will be on the ballot, which should increase the local turnout. The three races are County Commission, Districts 2, which pits Democratic incumbent Gene Hall against NPA challengers Adam Fato and Derrick Jennings; County Commission District 4, which pits NPA incumbent Betsy Barfield against NPA challenger Keith Cook; and the Group 2 Monticello City Council race, which pits newcomers Gloria Cox and Sara Lynn LaDelfa-Kirsch against each other.
In the Sheriff's race on Tuesday night, McNeill got 1,038 votes (55.87 percent), to Tully Sparkman's 820 votes (44.13 percent). All told, Republicans cast 1,858 votes in the Sheriff's race.
On the Democratic side, Massey received 2,213 votes (84.98 percent), to Eugene Butler's 391 votes (15.02 percent). All told, Democrats cast 2,604 votes in the Sheriff's race.
In the U.S. Senate race, Scott handily defeated De La Fuente for the Republican nomination, a win reflected in the local votes. Scott received 1,628 votes (87.90 percent); De La Fuente, 224 (12.10 percent).
In the Second Congressional District race, Bob Rackleff beat Brandon Peters, winning the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative. Rackleff got 117 votes (60.62 percent) to Peters's 76 (39.38 percent). Rackleff now goes on to challenge Republican incumbent Neil Dunn in November.
In the Fifth Congressional District race, Democratic incumbent Al Lawson easily fended off a challenge from Democratic Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown to win the nomination. Lawson received 2,133 votes (85.66 percent), to Brown's 357 votes (14.34 percent). Lawson will face Republican candidate Virginia Fuller in November.
In the Democratic race for Governor, Gilllum outperformed the other six candidates in the field to win the nomination, with the local results indicative of the statewide trend. The local results: Gillum, 1,391 votes (51.65 percent); Gwen Graham, 854 (31.71 percent); Jeff Greene, 147 (5.46 percent); Chris King, 49 (1.82 percent); Phillip Levine, 182 (6.76 percent); Alex Lundmar, 21 (0.78 percent); and John Wetherbee, 49 (1.82 percent).
In the Republican race for Governor, DeSantis shut out Putnam statewide for the nomination, although Putnam won locally. The local results for the eight candidates in this race were Don Baldauf, 10 (0.54 percent); DeSantis, 667 (36.15 percent); Timothy Devine, 11 (0.60 percent); Bob Lanford, 21 (1.14 percent); John Joseph Mercadan, 5 (0.27 percent); Bruce Nathan, 7 (0.38 percent); Putnam, 1,103 (59.78 percent); and Bob White, 21 (1.14 percent).
In the Florida Attorney General race, the Republican candidates were Ashley Moody and Frank White. Moody won the Republican nomination, a win reflected in the local numbers. Moody received 1,175 votes (66.16 percent), to White's 601 votes (33.84 percent).
On the Democratic side in the Attorney General race, Sean Shaw beat Ryan Torrens, a win also reflected locally. Shaw got 1,979 votes (80.41 percent), to Torrens' 482 votes (19.59 percent).
In the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Matt Caldwell won the Republican nomination and Nicole “Nikki” Fried won the Democratic nomination, results reflected locally.
On the Republican side, the local results were Caldwell, 835 (47.04 percent); Denise Grimsley, 685 (38.59 percent); Mike McCalister, 154 (8.68 percent); and Baxter Troutman, 101 (5.69 percent).
On the Democratic side, the local results were Fried, 1,330 (52.82 percent); Jeffrey Duane Porter, 450 (17.87 percent); and Roy David Walker, 738 (29.31 percent).
In the nonpartisan Second Judicial Judge race, the local results were Lisa Barclay Fountain, 921 votes (20.43 percent); David Frank, 1,911 votes (42.40 percent); and D. Christine Thurman, 1,675 votes (37.16 percent).