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Barker unseats Akins

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By The Staff

"Unbelievable!"

Osborn "Oz" Barker's reaction to being elected as Levy County Property Appraiser may well sum up the feelings of the county's Republicans as they won two offices for the first time in history.

In addition to Barker, who unseated incumbent Democrat Francis Akins, voters chose Republican Robert "Bob" Hastings as county school superintendent.

"It feels great," Hastings said. "It's something I've looked forward to for a long time."

Earlier in the evening, when Hastings took an early lead, he was asked if he was cautiously optimistic. "VERY cautiously optimistic," he replied.

He said he's going to take a vacation for a few days, but then come back for a new superintendents' workshop.

In the only other county races, incumbent Democrats Tony Parker and Danny Stevens held on to their seats on the County Commission.

The word might also describe Supervisor of Elections Connie Asbell's reaction to the 72.81 percent voter turnout. Out of 25,924 registered voters 18,875 voted. "That was fantastic," she said. "The presidential election brought them out."

Republican Party Chairman George Lambka of Morriston, who commutes to his job for a defense contractor in Washington, D.C., said he is absolutely pleased with the results.

"Our new superintendent is a good man. We're extremely happy in Levy County. We got Charlie Dean re-elected, the county went for John McCain. In addition we got Bob Hastings and Oz Barker. Congressman Cliff Stearns is back with us, oh, and Ginny Brown-Waite," he said.

But even in victory there is some bittersweet news. "Although we lost two commission seats and we gotta work on those because we haven't got that right yet, we're extremely happy."

In a county where there were more yard signs for Republican John McCain than Democrat Barack Obama, Lambka is hopeful it means some Republicans who have registered Democrat are emboldened to come out in the open.

"Well I'm hoping so. They have been hiding out in the woods for a long time, at least for the four years I've been chairman," he said. "In this campaign we got more publicity, made more calls, knocked on more doors, and had more people proactive in the Republican Party and I think you have got to say we had some very good candidates."

"I think so."

Lambka's judgment: "I am happy and extremely proud. We done good. It has been a good night in one regard."

He can be proud of the outcome of the presidential election results in Levy as McCain received 11,751 votes to Obama's 6,707.

In Congressional races, incumbent District 5 Republican Ginny Brown-Waite received 9,113 votes to Democrat John Russell's 4,938 in the 16 precincts she represents in Levy; and District 6 incumbent Republican Cliff Stearns received 2,394 votes to Democratic challenger Tim Cunha's 1658 votes in the remaining four precincts in the county.

The eight precincts in the multi-county District 3 State Senate race cast 3,990 votes for incumbent Republican Charles Dean and 2,334 for Democrat Suzan Franks.

In the race for State House District 10, which includes all of Levy County and several other counties, Republican Don Curtis received 8,032 votes to Leonard Bembry's 6,540.

In the appraiser's race, Barker received 9,529 votes to Democrat Akins' 8,817.

The results for superintendent of schools in which Hastings garnered 9,566 to Assistant Superintendent Jeff Edison, a Democrat, had 8,304.

The race for County Commission District 1 pitted incumbent Democrat Tony Parker against Blitch with Parker squeezing out a victory with 9,178 votes to 8,818. Blitch said he would be going fishing Wednesday. Parker commented, "I'm about speechless. The voters showed me a lot of places I need to improve. I need to do better."

In the commission District 5 race Democrat Danny Stevens easily won with 10,051 votes to Republican Jerry Robinson's 7,798.

In voting for the Amendments, Levy County results are:

No. 1 - 10,435 No votes, 60.57 percent to 6,794 votes Yes or 39.43 percent.

No. 2 - 13,853 Yes or 76.57 percent to 4,240 No or 23.43 percent.

No. 3 - 9,026 Yes or 54.29 percent to 7,599 or 45.71 percent.

No. 4 - 9,933 Yes or 59.46 percent to 6,723 No or 40.36 percent

No. 6 - 10,349 Yes, or 62.43 percent to 6,228 or 37.57 percent, and

No. 8 - 5,840 Yes or 34.53 percent to 11,167 No, or 65.47 percent.

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