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Commission is now all GOP

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By Lou Elliott Jones

If the election of the first Republicans to office in Levy County in the 2008 election was historic, then by any measure an all-Republican Levy County Commission is a milestone.

Property Appraiser Oz Osborn and Schools Superintendent Bob Hastings were the first elected Republicans in the county when they won office in November 2008. 

On Tuesday, Commissioner Danny Stevens of Williston, who was re-elected to the District 5 seat in November as a Democrat, confirmed that he has switched his party registration to Republican. 

“I just could not go on with the Democratic Party and what they are doing,” he said in a phone interview. 

Stevens said he found himself at odds with the policies being endorsed by Democrats and shortly after the November 2012 election switched his voter registration. 

The first Republican to serve on the commission was Marsha Drew of Yankeetown who was appointed in March 2009 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist to the District 3 seat. She served out the term of Commission Chair Sammy Yearty of Gulf Hammock who was suspended and later convicted on federal charges of soliciting and accepting a bribe and lying to the FBI. 

In July 2009, Crist appointed Chad “Cracker” Johnson to the District 1 seat vacated by the suspension and conviction of Commissioner Tony Parker of Bronson. Johnson, who had been registered Democrat, switched parties at the time. 

In 2010, Johnson was elected to the District 2 seat as a Republican, and in 2012 Gov. Rick Scott named former Deputy Mike Joyner of Morriston, also a Republican, to the District 1 seat. Businessman Ryan Bell of Chiefland also won election to the District 2 seat as a Republican. 

Joyner sought and was elected to the District 3 seat in the November 2012 election, as businessman John Meeks of Bronson won election as a Republican to the District 1 seat.

In that same election, voters elected Republican Bobby McCallum sheriff and Republican Tammy Jones as supervisor of elections.

The only constitutional officers who are still Democrats are Danny Shipp, clerk of courts, and Linda Fugate, tax collector.