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New conservative majority could be elected to Volusia County School Board
By Beacon Staff
posted Aug 25, 2014 - 1:08:32pm
UPDATE 10:45 P.M.: Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall said Tuesday’s polling generally went smoothly, albeit with some bumps.
“We had a 22.98 percent turnout, which is lower than my prediction of 25 percent,” McFall said at the end of a busy day.
There were some problems with several Ormond Beach-area precincts, she said. Some equipment problems were corrected early in the day, but the real issues were in getting the results to the Elections Department after the polls closed.
“Some of it was weather, but mostly I’ll have to say it was operator error,” McFall said.
When equipment isn’t reporting results properly, precinct workers should take the ballots to a drop site at 7:30 p.m., rather than waiting until 10 p.m. to do that, she explained.
McFall didn’t know how many provisional ballots may have been cast, but however many there are will be counted Thursday, Aug. 28, at 5 p.m.
At 10:43 p.m., the Volusia County Elections Office updated the results, showing all 125 precincts reporting. Here are tonight's election highlights:
• Veteran U.S. Rep. John Mica trounced three challengers in the District 7 race, winning 74.97 percent of the vote in Volusia County and a similar percentage districtwide.
"I'm just glad it's over," the 11-term congressman said. "Tomorrow we've got a lot of issues facing the community."
Mica said he would be immediately focusing on expansion of the Orange City veterans' clinic.
"We've got a lot of stuff we want to get done in Volusia County," he said.
• DeLand city elections weren't even close. Anti-City Hall candidates Pat Johnson for mayor, Krystal Brown for City Commission Seat 3, and Scott Price for City Commission Seat 5 — all supported by the mostly anonymous critics organized as DeLand CPR — all were soundly defeated.
Incumbent Leigh Matusick in Seat 5 had the closest race, winning by 602 votes, for 56.88 percent of the ballots to Price's 43.12 percent.
Incumbent Mayor Bob Apgar had 72.75 percent of the vote to Johnson's 27.25 percent, and in the Seat 3 race, Jessica Davis 72.69 percent to Brown's 27.31 percent.
• Although they approved extending the sales tax for school buildings with a 60-percent majority, Volusia County voters also opened the door for election of a new conservative majority to the School Board.
District 5 School Board Member Diane Smith was defeated by conservative challenger Melody Johnson, 52.41 percent to 47.59 percent.
Also, in District 3, incumbent Stan Schmidt, a moderate Republican, came in third, with 24.41 percent of the vote. His two challengers, Democrat Linda Cuthbert and former Deltona city attorney George Trovato, a Republican, will be in a runoff Nov. 4, with 46.38 percent and 29.21 percent of the vote, respectively.
• In four judicial races, four women were victorious, two of them besting incumbent judges. One of the races has a runoff, between Kathy Weston and Adam Warren, for the Group 20 Circuit Court judgeship.
• The Volusia County Council at-large race was neck and neck and neck for most of the night. With all precincts counted, two political veterans, incumbent Joyce Cusack and longtime County Council Member Pat Northey will be in a runoff Nov. 4. Cusack got 35.05 percent of the vote, and Northey got 32.58 percent. The third candidate, relative newcomer Webster Barnaby, a Deltona city commissioner, got 32.37 percent of the vote.
With less than a half-percent — only 153 votes — between Northey and Barnaby, a recount is likely.
• There will be another County Council runoff between incumbent Pat Patterson and Andy Kelly in District 1. In that race, Ronnie Mills and Voloria Manning were knocked out. In the District 3 race, which includes part of West Volusia, incumbent Deborah Denys avoided a runoff in a three-way race, by winning 51.24 percent of the ballots.
• Deltona voters will return to the polls in November to select a mayor in a runoff between incumbent John Masiarczyk and challenger Zenaida Denizac, a current city commissioner.
• In DeBary, 28-year-old political newcomer Clint Johnson will be mayor. He won 56.5 percent of the vote in a three-way race against two former City Council members, Jack Lenzen and Danny Tillis.
• In Lake Helen, Tura Schnebly and incumbent Cameron Lane will run off Nov. 4 in the City Commission Zone 4 race. Schnebly got 48.61 percent of the vote, and Lane had 28.76 percent.
Read the whole story, in the Aug. 28-31 Weekend edition of The Beacon. To subscribe to The Beacon online, click here. For a list of newsstand locations, click here. To have the print edition mailed to your home twice a week, send your address via email to email@example.com.
Webster Barnaby speaks from West Volusia Republican Headquarters before the election results are final.
UPDATE 10:19 P.M.: Circuit-wide results indicate two decisions and one runoff in the three Circuit Court judicial races affecting Volusia County.
In the Group 23 race, Kellie Jo Killebrew was headed to the bench, apparently defeating incumbent Judge Thomas G. Portuallo, with 53.16 percent to Portuallo's 46.84 percent.
Killebrew said she still couldn't quite believe the results, but suspected old-fashioned hard work earned her the victory.
"I got out there and I talked to people," she said. "I knocked on doors. I didn't have the money. … I had to get out there and talk to people."
Killebrew credited the support of family members and other volunteer campaign workers. She said she is ready for the bench.
"I am absolutely ready," she said. "I knew I wanted to do this when I graduated law school."
In the Group 20 race, Kathy Weston was the top vote-getter, with 45.27 percent of the ballots. If the preliminary results hold, Weston will be in a runoff with Adam Warren, who got 28.71 percent. In third place was former Judge Steven DeLaroche, who got 26.02 percent.
In the Group 18 race, Karen Foxman, currently deputy chief of operations over Volusia County for 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza, defeated DeLand resident Steve Sands, 63.77 percent to 36.23 percent.
UPDATE 9:35 P.M.: A new majority could be elected to the Volusia County School Board, if conservative challengers prevail in November runoffs.
In Southwest Volusia District 5, challenger Melody Johnson won outright over incumbent Diane Smith, winning 52.26 percent to Smith's 47.74 percent.
"It was very positive. People want a change," Johnson said.
In the five-way District 1 School Board race, Dr. John Hill came out on top with 34.28 percent, but will be in a runoff with teacher Don Sarro, who was in second place with 19.45 percent.
In District 3, Linda Cuthbert had the most votes in the three-way race, with 46.37 percent. If the results hold with the final precincts counted, she'll be in a runoff with attorney George Trovato, who got 29.21 percent, and incumbent Stan Schmidt will be ousted. Schmidt had 24.42 percent of the votes, with 114 of 125 precincts reporting.
UPDATE: 9:10 P.M.: DeLand mayoral challenger Pat Johnson, and City Commission candidates Krystal Brown and Scott Price were all backed by a group called DeLand Citizens for Public Responsibility, or DeLand CPR, which operates a website sharply criticizing city government, and calling for the ouster of all incumbents.
And, with 103 of 125 precincts counted, all the CPR candidates were trailing.
The only identified member of the group is its secretary-treasurer, Maggi Hall, a local real-estate agent and former city Code Enforcement Board member who's now feuding with the city administration.
Hall, who claims CPR has about 25 members, including current and former city employees, said she expected the city establishment to prevail in this election.
"We fought the good fight. I personally didn't believe we would take out the good old boy system at once," she said. "We're not quitting."
In the mayor's race, incumbent Mayor Bob Apgar had 72.47 percent to Johnson's 27.53 percent. Incumbent Seat 5 Commissioner Leigh Matusick had 56.24 percent to Price's 43.73 percent, and in the Seat 3 race, Jessica Davis had 72.84 percent to Brown's 27.16 percent.
Although not an incumbent, Davis was allied with incumbents Apgar and Matusick. There was no incumbent in the Seat 3 race.
"I'm very happy and excited," Davis said as she left the Elections Office after the results of the voting became apparent. "And I'm ready to move DeLand forward."
For his part, defeated challenger Johnson, who was at Republican Headquarters in DeLand, had few words.
""I'm not talking to the press, based on what they did to me during the campaign. … Flat-out lies," Johnson said.
UPDATE 8:43 P.M.: Incumbent Mayor John Masiarczyk and challenger Zenaida Denizac appear headed to a Nov. 4 runoff.
With 101 of 125 precincts reporting, Masiarczyk had 47.88 percent of the vote, to Denizac's 32.47 percent.
"We planned for a runoff," Masiarczyk said. "We're hopeful right now."
Denizac also expressed hope.
"He's ahead, but I'm hopeful," she said. "We need to bring a true conservative voice to that commission."
Denizac is currently on the City Commission, representing Deltona District 1.
The third candidate in the Deltona mayoral race, business owner Jody Lee Storozuk, had 19.66 percent of the vote.
UPDATE 8:38 P.M.: Early returns show the three candidates vying for an at-large seat on the Volusia County Council seat are virtually neck and neck.
With 101 of 125 precincts reporting, incumbent Joyce Cusack leads with slightly more than 35 percent, but close on her heels is current Deltona City Commissioner Webster Barnaby, with 32.58 percent. Pat Northey, the current District 5 County Council member, was in third place by a hair with 32.47 percent.
"So far, I'm still nervous. I know this: I've done all that I know to do to win," said Cusack, who was watching returns at the Elections Office with friend Dorothy Gibson. "So, I'm hopeful," Cusack continued. "Now, the people and God will decide."
If none of the candidates emerges from today's primary with a clear majority, the two top vote-getters will face each other in the Nov. 4 general election.
UPDATE: 7:56 P.M.: Two challengers were beating incumbent judges in Volusia County, with 97 of 125 precincts reporting this evening.
Angela Dempsey had 59.68 percent of the vote in her challenge to County Judge Peter McGlashan, while Kellie Jo Killebrew had 55.17 percent of the vote in her challenge to incumbent Circuit Court Judge Thomas Portuallo.
In a Circuit Court race being watched closely in DeLand, DeLand resident Steve Sands was losing to Karen Foxman. Foxman had 65.84 percent of the vote to Sands' 34.16 percent, with 97 of 125 precincts reporting.
In the fourth judicial race on the Volusia County ballot, a three-way contest, Kathy Weston was leading with 44.87 percent of the vote, while Adam Warren had 30.12 percent, and former Judge Steven deLaroche had 25.01 percent.
Results outside Volusia County are unknown in the circuit-judge races, which also include Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
UPDATE 7:39 P.M.: Incumbent DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar was solidly ahead with only the early-voting results posted by the Elections Office shortly after 7 p.m. today.
Apgar had 73.01 percent of the early votes, with challenger Pat Johnson logging 26.99 percent.
In the Seat 3 race, Jessica Davis had 72.82 percent of the early votes, while Krystal Brown had 27.18 percent. There is no incumbent in Seat 3, which was given up by Vonzelle Johnson, who opted not to run for re-election.
In the Seat 5 race, with only early-voting results posted, incumbent Commissioner Leigh Matusick was besting challenger Scott Price, a former city commissioner. Matusick had 55.86 percent of the vote, to Price's 44.14 percent.
UPDATE 7:17 P.M.: A total of 32,026 Volusia County residents cast their votes by absentee ballot in the Aug. 26 election.
"This is a historic report, because we've never seen these numbers in Volusia County before," Elections Supervisor Ann McFall told the Canvassing Board as she distributed the 7 p.m. report on absentee ballots. "We've never had that many before."
The report shows that 66,859 absentee ballots were requested, and 32,456 were returned to the Elections Office. Of those, 424 were rejected, many because voters didn't sign them.
UPDATE 6:57 P.M. AUG. 26: Except for equipment malfunctions at two Ormond Beach precincts, voting in Volusia County today went smoothly, the Volusia County Canvassing Board reported this afternoon.
At Precint 510 at Coquina Presbyterian Church, and Precinct 512 at Nova Gym, the card readers failed shortly after voting began at 7 a.m., Elections Supervisor Ann McFall said.
New equipment was readied for delivery to both locations, but in the meantime, poll workers mistakenly put unscanned ballots into the back of the machines, mingling them with ballots that had already been scanned to the machines' memory cards.
That made it impossible to determine which votes had been scanned, and which had not been counted. Unscanned ballots are supposed to be put into a side pocket on the machine, not into the back.
At Precinct 510, 13 ballots were mishandled, while at Precinct 510, three ballots were mingled with counted ballots. Ultimately, the Canvassing Board decided to recount all the ballots from both precincts, noting some hotly contested races on the ballot that might be decided by just a few votes.
"God knows, every vote counts," McFall said.
On the bright side, countywide, no memory cards failed in this election, she said. Past elections in Volusia County have been plagued by memory cards that failed in their duty to compile the results at each precinct. McFall noted she is now using an upgraded type of memory card that seems to be functioning better.
McFall noted that both pieces of equipment that failed today were purchased in 1994 and are due for replacement.
"November 2014 is the last time we'll use them," she said.
Early and very preliminary estimates of the voter turnout pegged the number at about 22 percent of voters countywide casting ballots either at the polls today, in early voting, or by absentee.
REPORTED EARLIER: With the polls open tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 26, for voting in the primary, the Volusia County Elections Office has closed the early-voting sites. If you haven't voted yet, Tuesday is your last chance to vote in the primary.
Volusians have been voting early. They cast 8,790 ballots at the five early-voting sites in the county — four public libraries and the the Elections Department in the Volusia County Historic Courthouse in DeLand:
• Daytona Beach Regional Library at City Island — 1,708 ballots cast
• New Smyrna Beach Regional Library — 1,981 ballots cast
• Ormond Beach Regional Library — 1,726 ballots cast
• Deltona Regional Library — 1,821 ballots cast
• Department of Elections — 1,554 ballots cast
Democrats turned out in slightly higher numbers — 4,032 of them, versus 3,450 Republicans. Other-party voters accounted for 1,308 of the total.
The Elections Office reports 66,355 absentee ballots were mailed out for the primary election. Of those, 3,521 were returned by the postal service as undeliverable.
Voters mailed back 25,016 ballots as of Saturday, Aug. 23. Of those, 91 were rejected for reasons such as no signature, or the signature not matching.
The polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 26, for the primary. Voters unsure of where to cast their ballots can go online to the Elections Office Precinct Locator. For additional assistance, call 386-736-5930.
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