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Volusia County Council runoffs in Districts 1 and 5, county chair
posted Aug 14, 2012 - 4:58:41pm
UPDATE 11:47 p.m.: The story of the Aug. 14 primary election may be one of turnout, as much as results, as seen in unofficial but final vote totals posted about 11:30 p.m. by the Volusia County Elections Office.
Republican voters turned out in larger numbers than Democrats in several Volusia County races. Witness the results in partisan races on Volusia County ballots:
In the primaries for U.S. Senate, 27,446 Volusia County Democrats cast ballots in the race between incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Glenn A. Burkett, compared to 35,753 Republicans who voted in the race between Connie Mack and three challengers who sought to run against Nelson for the Senate seat.
In the partisan primaries to select a representative to U.S. Congress for District 6, a new district formed as a result of the 2010 census, 28,223 Republicans cast ballots vs. 21,059 Democrats.
The schism was even wider in the District 7 race. The newly drawn congressional district represents Deltona, DeBary and Orange City in addition to Seminole County.
On the Republican side, the contest was between incumbent Rep. John Mica and challenger Sandy Adams. A total of 8,112 Volusia County Republicans voted. On the Democratic side, in the race between Jason Kendall and Nicholas Ruiz to elect a challenger to Mica, only 4,377 Democrats cast ballots.
The disparity between Republican and Democratic turnout may have affected more local, nonpartisan races, as well.
In the Volusia County Council District 1 race among five candidates, only the two Republicans survived to go into a runoff in the Nov. 6 general election. That race will feature veteran politician Pat Patterson, who garnered 34.11 percent of the 13,558 ballots cast, and former Orange City Council Member Jeff Allebach, who had 24.11 percent of the votes.
The Democrats in the nonpartisan District 1 race — Terry Dilligard Sr., Missy Kelly and Ronnie Mills — combined got only 42 percent of the total ballots cast.
In County Council District 5, the unofficial results with all precincts counted at 11:30 p.m. showed Democratic incumbent Pat Northey, a Democrat, with 48.48 percent of the vote, in a runoff with challenger Rich Gailey, a political newcomer and a conservative, who got 30.38 percent of the 9,740 ballots cast.
UPDATE 10:48 P.M.: As the final Volusia County elections results were trickling in at 10:48 p.m., two local races were too close to call. The Volusia County Elections Office had posted results from 112 of 125 precincts countywide.
The race to represent County Council District 3, which includes New Smyrna Beach and much of Southeast Volusia, but touches West Volusia along the east side of Deltona and includes Daytona Park Estates, was a dead heat between candidates Deborah Denys and James W. Hathaway, who both had 4,997 votes. The third candidate, Justin Kennedy, had 3,962 votes.
The other close race was between incumbent County Judge Bryan Feigenbaum and challenger Michael McDermott in Group 8. Feigenbaum had 30,598 votes to McDermott's 30,611.
The other close race in Volusia County was that for the office of State Attorney. Circuitwide, incumbent R.J. Larizza had 55.79 percent of the vote to challenger Stasia Warren's 44.21 percent. In Volusia County, however, Warren had 53.58 percent of the vote to Larizza's 46.42 percent.
UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: With 112 of 125 Volusia County precincts reporting, results in many Volusia County races seemed clear, but candidates in some cases were still hesitant to claim victory. Some snapshots:
Volusia County chair: Former County Council Member Carl Persis had 39.77 percent of the vote with 112 of 125 precincts reporting at 10:30 p.m. A runoff was shaping up between him and political newcomer Jason Davis of Edgewater, who had 33.12 percent.
"It's always nice to be the top vote-getter," Persis said.
He was celebrating with friends at Vince Carter's restaurant in Daytona Beach as he spoke to The Beacon by phone.
"We're feeling great and we appreciate all the countywide bipartisan support, and we look forward to carrying that to a victory in November," Persis said.
Persis said he and Davis have been talking throughout the primary campaign, and there won't be any personal animosity in the runoff.
Words and campaign literature was often testy and negative between Persis and Ted Doran. Doran, who came in third with 27.12 percent of the vote as of 10:30 p.m., is now out of the race.
Volusia County Council District 1: This five-way race had boiled down to a runoff between former Orange City Council Member Jeff Allebach, who had 24.11 percent of the vote, and longtime politician Pat Patterson, who won the support of 34.11 percent of District 1 voters.
In the five-way race, Missy Kelly came in third with 20.86 percent as of 10:30 p.m.; Ronnie Mills had 13.52 percent, and Terry Dilligard had 7.41 percent.
Volusia County Council District 5: The race to represent Southwest Volusia on the County Council seemed headed into a Nov. 6 runoff between incumbent Pat Northey and challenger Rich Gailey, a political newcomer. Northey had 48.48 percent of the vote; Gailey had 30.38 percent.
"It feels great. It's close but no cigar," Northey said. "There's still 5,000 votes out there. I am still hopeful we'll get the 50 percent plus one."
Gailey said he is ready to run against a veteran politician.
"We feel honored," he said. "We knew it was going to be tough. We feel honored that we're going to be going into the general election against an experienced politician who's been there for 20 years."
He said he intends to reach out to Stony Sixma, who came in third in the three-person race with 21.14 percent of the vote.
"I'm going to call him at some point. I don't know when," Gailey said.
U.S. congressional District 7: In the Republican primary, incumbent Rep. John Mica handily captured 60.9 percent of the vote to Sandy Adams' 39.1 percent. Mica seemed likely to face Democrat Jason Kendall, who got 60.99 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, to Nicholas Ruiz's 39.01 percent.
"This race has been called the fight for the soul of the Republican party," Mica said. "I'm happy to report the heart and soul of the party endures."
Mica said the victory came as the result of hard work and dedicated grass-roots support.
"Now it is time to roll up our sleeves and continue my to work to bring economic opportunity to all citizens across this district and this great nation," Mica said.
Deltona City Commission District 6Chris Nabicht, a former division chief and fire marshal for the Deltona Fire Department, had the lead in this race.
"It feels good. We feel good. We deserve it. We worked for it," Nabicht said.
Despite his lead, Nabicht, with 29.31 percent of the vote, seemed to be headed into a runoff with Michael Wycuff, who captured 25.09 percent.
"I can't believe Wycuff, who did next to nothing, came in No. 2," Nabicht said.
The other two candidates were not far behind. With 98 of 125 precincts in Volusia County reporting as of 10 p.m., incumbent Commissioner Michael Carmolingo had 23.68 percent, and George Watral had 21.92 percent.
Carmolingo, who has recently faced health challenges seemed somewhat resigned to losing.
"I used to walk through the neighborhoods, but this past time I couldn't do it," he said. "I feel everything I have done is for the quality of life of the people of Deltona."
Republicans gather to watch results at DeLand headquarters
UPDATE 9:36 P.M.: In June, Marti Miller moved to West Volusia to be near her 90-year-old mother and her grown children.
Miller jumped right into informing herself about her new hometown's politics. Being involved in the local Republican club was a part of that.
"I had to go to the post office, and I saw the headquarters, and went 'Oooo, the Republican headquarters,' and turned in," Miller said.
Miller said she used information sheets available through the GOP group, and also did Internet research to familiarize herself with the candidates. She volunteers four days with the Republican club, helping with campaign signs.
Miller was among volunteers watching elections results at the GOP DeLand headquarters Aug. 14.
Deryk and Elizabeth Ford were at the headquarters, too.
The Fords love their adopted country, and their political party.
"We love this country," Elizabeth Ford said. She is originally from Vietnam, and Deryk is from the United Kingdom. He retired from British Airways, and the couple could have picked anywhere in the world to live. They chose America.
"We appreciate this country," Deryk said, "Most people don't know what they have here."
The Fords are now American citizens and proud Republicans. The party makes sense, they said.
"We've got to get the fiscal spending under control," Deryk Ford said. "That's got to start at home. That's really a grass-roots effort."
Beaven vs. DeSantis likely on Nov. 6 ballot in congressional race
UPDATE 9:19 P.M. — At 9:20 p.m., with 86 of 125 precincts counted in Volusia County, Heather Beaven was winning handily over Vipin Verma in the U.S. Congress Dist. 6 Democratic primary. District 6, a new congressional district created after the 2010 census, is dominated by Volusia County.
Beaven had 80.74 percent of the vote districtwide, and Verma had 19.26 percent. The Democratic winner will likely face Republican Ron DeSantis in the Nov. 6 election. DeSantis had 35.58 percent of the vote in a field of seven Republican candidates.
"It's exciting," Beaven said.
Beaven is counting on votes Nov. 6 from those who don't believe a pound of flesh needs to be taken from Medicare, Social Security and the working class.
Her husband, a U.S. Army reservist, was called up and deployed oversees recently.
"I'm a working mom, a single mom, at this point," Beaven said. "I'm excited to see what happens."
She said she's ready for the challenge of the November general election.
"I'll be running against an unemployed lobbyist. It'll be fun to see who manages their time better," Beaven said.
Doran: Volusia County voters prefer the status quo
UPDATED 9 P.M.: With 86 of 125 precincts reporting at 9 p.m. today, the Volusia County chair race appeared to be a likely runoff between former County Council Member Carl Persis and political newcomer Jason Davis.
Persis had 40.36 percent of the vote and Davis had 32.72 percent. Doran was in third with 26.91 percent of the vote.
Doran said, "You know, I gave the voters the choice, and they chose. They want the status quo."
He said he had presented a clear vision for change, one "that would elevate our whole county. It's been rejected."
Doran doesn't anticipate another run for office. He's done a lot of community service work, and plans to remain involved in the community.
Runoff likely in county judge race between Christoper Kelly, Adam Warren
UPDATED 8:46 p.m.: Christopher Kelly and Adam Warren appeared headed into a Nov. 6 runoff as of 8:47 p.m., in the Group 4 race for Volusia County judge.
In a field of five candidates, Kelly had 31.43 percent of the vote and Warren had 25.28 percent with 86 of 125 precincts reporting in Volusia County.
The other candidates had less than 20 percent: Steven Burk, 16.73 percent; Dustin M. Havens, 13.97 percent; and Alan Holt, 12.59 percent.
Fourteen hours ago, Warren posted an optimistic message on his Facebook page: "Volusia County here I come! No matter how hot it gets today i will be hitting the polls and taking the vote in Volusia County! Vote Adam Warren for Volusia County Judge!"
Battle to represent Deltona in Florida House may be Santiago vs. Mulder
UPDATE 8:26 P.M.: With results posted from 79 of 125 Volusia County precincts reporting in Volusia County at about 8:15 p.m., former Deltona City Commissioner David Santiago led with 64.61 percent of the vote to former Deltona City Attorney George Trovato's 35.39 percent, in the race to represent District 27 in the Florida Legislature.
The winner in this Republican primary will face former Deltona Mayor Dennis Mulder in the Nov. 6 election. District 27 is dominated by Deltona, Volusia County's largest city.
"It feels good, and we feel humbled. We've been door-knocking for months now, and it's paying off," Santiago said.
He's looking forward to the fall campaign.
"Dennis and I are two different individuals," Santiago said.
Santiago and Mulder often clashed on key issues before the Deltona City Commission when they both served on that body, including the budget and zoning issues. Santiago expects the controversial purchase of land in Howland Crossings, a mixed-use development along Howland Boulevard on Deltona's north side, to be a campaign issue.
In 2008, when Santiago was off the City Commission, commissioners voted 4-3 to purchase 19 acres of land there for $7.6 million, a contract price that was above appraised values.
"I think it [the Cavallaro land purchase] still resonates with people, when they think back to some of the shenanigans and the embarrassing moments for the city," Santiago said. "If someone asks me about Dennis, I think it's fair game. ... We're going to remind the district of his [Mulder's] record."
Santiago is excited and elated; he's quietly cautious that he has it in the bag.
Santiago has been off the City Commission for five years but still is active.
Warren winning State Attorney locally, but not circuitwide
REPORTED EARLIER: Although challenger Stasia Warren was winning the office of State Attorney in Volusia County as of 8 p.m., with nearly 54 percent of the local vote, incumbent State Attorney R.J. Larizza had 54.35 percent of the vote circuitwide.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica was holding onto his District 7 seat with 65.14 percent of the vote in Volusia County, against challenger Sandy Adams' 34.86 percent, and the results were mirrored districtwide, with Mica racking up 66.099 percent at 8 p.m., and Adams garnering 39.01 percent across the district in the Republican primary.
The winner in the Mica-Adams race will face the winner in the District 7 Democratic primary. At 8 p.m., Democratic candidate Jason Kendall was leading with 61.06 percent, to Nicholas Ruiz's 38.94 percent.
McFall has dramatic lead in Elections Supervisor race
REPORTED EARLIER: As the counts from early voting and absentee ballots were uploaded shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. today in the primary, perhaps the most dramatic tally was in the four-person race for Volusia County elections supervisor, where incumbent Ann McFall led all three of her challengers by a wide margin.
At 7:16 p.m., McFall led the pack with 21,252 votes. Her nearest challenger was Andy Kelly, who had 5,024 votes.
In the hotly contested County Council District 1 race, Pat Patterson led the pack of five candidates, with 1,294 votes. Jeff Allebach was in second place with 1,050 votes. Missy Kelly was in third place with 769 votes.
At 7:22 p.m., Pat Northey led the pack for Seat 5 on the County Council with 49.07 percent of the vote. Rich Gailey was second, with 29.85 percent, and Stony Sixma had 21.08 percent of the vote. If Pat Northey can edge up to a little more than 50 percent of the vote, she will win the race outright. If she can't, she will face Gailey in what promises to be a tough runoff.
Lake Helen attorney given wrong info about voter ID
REPORTED EARLIER: With many precinct boundaries and polling locations changed, in addition to the failure of 15 voting-machine memory cards, voting wasn't without problems today across Volusia County in the primary election.
Lake Helen resident Tammy Jacques arrived this morning at the Lake Helen precinct where she has voted for 12 years, only to be told she would have to go to a precinct in Deltona.
"I don't live in Deltona. I passed three precincts on the way to my 'new' polling place," Jacques said.
Although state law requires elections supervisors to notify voters when their polling places change, Jacques, an attorney, said neither she nor any of the other three voting-age members of her household ever received notification or new voting cards.
Jacques also said poll workers in Lake Helen, before determining she was in the wrong polling place, told her she could not vote if she didn't have identification with a scannable magnetic stripe.
Jacques had her driver license, so that wasn't a problem, but the requirement didn't sound correct to her. Returning to her office after voting, she looked up the state law, and found that a variety of forms of identification are allowed, including identification without magnetic coding.
"The people at the polls are giving out wrong information," Jacques said. "There's such a potential for disenfranchising."
Jacques said she called the Volusia County Elections Office, and a spokeswoman there agreed the information about required identification was a "training issue." The woman, Jacques said, also said all voters had been mailed new cards, listing any change in their voting locations, on June 30.
"Basically, she was saying, 'I don't know what's wrong with this post office,'" Jacques said.
Jacques said she had gone to the polling place this morning prepared to vote for incumbent Elections Supervisor Ann McFall, but after her experience, chose one of McFall's three challengers instead.
"It was one thing after another," Jacques said. "I've always had a very pleasant voting experience in Volusia County."
Jacques said she posted comments about her experience on Facebook, and received responses from others who also reported voting problems today.
Once she got to Precinct 405B at Deltona Lakes Baptist Church, Jacques said, she filled out her ballot, but apparently the scanner wasn't working.
"The ballot was not scanned," she said. "It was just put into, like a mail slot."
Voters who cast ballots at Hopkins Hall in Lake Helen also reported their ballots were not scanned.
Former Lake Helen City Commissioner Lewis Long said he was concerned after hearing that several Lake Helen voters were asked to put their ballots into the bottom of the voting machine instead of sliding them through the scanner.
Karen Hotchkiss was at Hopkins Hall before 7 a.m. today, and was the fifth person to cast a ballot. Hotchkiss was dismayed, however, when her ballot could not be scanned.
"The machine that takes the ballots had already stopped working," Hotchkiss said.
She said the poll worker opened up the left side of the voting machine, and told her to put her ballot in a slot near the bottom of the machine, offering no explanation.
"It didn't seem right to me," Hotchkiss said. She called the Elections Office, 386-736-5930, to report the problem.
"I want my vote to count," Hotchkiss said. "I did my homework."
Elections Supervisor Ann McFall said memory-card failures affecting 15 voting machines around the county caused some machines to stop scanning ballots. When this happens, the ballots are supposed to be reserved in a special compartment of the voting machine for scanning later.
In Lake Helen, however, voters were concerned that their unscanned ballots were being mixed with scanned ballots in the bottom of the machine.
McFall said if an accounting this evening determines there were more voters signed in than there were ballots scanned at Hopkins Hall, the ballots from those precincts will be re-scanned.
A Beacon employee said she didn't realize until she got home from voting and talked to her husband that she had been given the wrong ballot when she went to vote at Chisholm Center in DeLand today.
Although she and her husband have the same party registration and live at the same DeLand address, they had had slightly different candidates on their ballots.
A check against the sample ballot for her precinct confirmed that the employee had been given the ballot for Precinct 217, not Precinct 220, which she is zoned for, she said. Her husband had voted the correct Precinct 220 ballot.
— Barb Shepherd
Beacon team coverage
The Beacon has a team of reporters and photographers covering today's primary election, and this story will be updated throughout the evening, as information and results become available.
If you have election news to report, please call The Beacon newsroom at 386-734-4622, or leave a comment on this story. Thank you.
REPORTED EARLIER: When Volusians went to the polls this morning, some found they were unable to complete the voting process. Scanning machines were not able to accept their marked ballots because of memory-card failures. The failures struck 15 machines around the county, leading 1,552 voters to leave ballots to be scanned later.
"The biggest concern I have," Elections Supervisor Ann McFall said this afternoon, is that "Precinct 411 has to be recounted."
At Precinct 411 at Pine Ridge Fellowship Methodist Church in Deltona, there were seven more voters signed in than there were ballots recorded. This means all the ballots will be re-scanned.
Several voters at Precincts 222 and 223 at Hopkins Hall in Lake Helen said they were worried about their ballots being counted. Elections staff opened the scanning machine and told the voters to place their ballots on a drawer on the lower left side of the machine. The voters said they didn't know if their ballots would be scanned or lost among already-scanned ballots.
If there should prove to be more ballots than voters signed in at Hopkins Hall, McFall said, those precinct ballots will be re-scanned, too.
McFall said the issue of the memory cards has been brought to the Canvassing Board, which was reviewing absentee ballots this afternoon.
The Elections Office is investigating the cause of the memory-card failures, McFall said. After a logic and accuracy test in July, some cards were replaced, and everything looked in good order.
"Something happened afterward," McFall said.
Whether the cards were knocked loose in transporting the machines to the precincts, whether the batteries were an issue, or whether there's another problem hasn't been determined yet. The state Division of Elections has promised assistance, McFall said.
The Elections Office has 180 new memory cards for use in the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election.
McFall estimates voter turnout in today's primary will run 30 percent to 35 percent of registered voters countywide. The highest turnouts have been on the east side, with a hotly contested mayor's race in Daytona Beach, and a hot municipal race in South Daytona.
— Pat Andrews
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