Incumbents rule in Levy elections

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By The Staff

It was a good day for incumbents in Tuesday's primary as three won re-election and others won their party's nomination for the November election.

Almost one-third of the county's registered voters, 8,216 out of 25,070, cast ballots in the primary. All results are unofficial.

While it was a primary to determine the nominees for the November general elections, three races were being decided as the Republican Party did not mount opposition for the Democrats.

Four candidates automatically re-elected to office as each did not draw any challengers were: Tax Collector Linda Fugate, Supervisor of Elections Connie Asbell, and School Board members Beth Davis and Paige Brookins.

The most hotly contested and closest race was for sheriff where 187 votes gave Johnny Smith a third term over challenger Bobby McCallum. Smith received 4,155 votes to 3,968 for McCallum.

McCallum, who was watching the early vote count that had him ahead by 137 votes at one point, said he felt good about the election. "I'm going to be fine. I've got a peace," he said. "But Bronson's still out and that's Smith's home."

McCallum added: "I'd regret if I hadn't done it."

Smith, who said he was grateful and humbled by the victory, commended McCallum and his supporters saying they ran a good campaign.

"It was a close race," Smith said. "I feel people have seen that we have done a good job."

He pointed to a 16.6 percent overall drop in crime in the county in 2007 as a key point in the race.

Now he said he must start dealing with the tight budget in the coming year that property tax cuts and the economy are effecting on county spending. Smith said he will be looking at streamlining his internal operations. The father of a 12-year-old, the sheriff said he will become more involved in youth programs and expanding community crime prevention programs.

In the race for Clerk of Court, incumbent Danny Shipp received 5,216 votes to County Road Department Director Bruce A. Greenlee's 2.867. Immediately after the announcement of the unofficial totals, Greenlee walked over to congratulate Shipp and the two men shook hands and hugged.

Shipp and his wife had spent Monday night and Tuesday attaching "Thank You" signs over his campaign signs, starting in Inglis at 9 p.m. and working their way north. Shipp said he did not do it because he was confident of a win, but because it's important for a candidate to thank the voters.

County Commission Chairman W.S. "Sammy" Yearty won re-election in commission District 3 against challenger Al Macri. Yearty received 4,908 votes to Macri's 3013. Yearty has been a commissioner for 30 years.

In other races, the nominees are:

County Commission, District 1: Democratic nominee is incumbent Tony Parker with 2,693 votes to challengers Dave Bibby, 696, and John Meeks, 1,835. Democrat Parker will face Republican Abraham Blitch on the November general election ballot.

County Commission, District 5: Democratic nominee is Danny Stevens with 3,243 votes to Cal Byrd's 1,959. Democrat Stevens will face off with Republican Jerry Robinson, a former Williston city councilman, on the November ballot.

Property Appraiser: Francis Akins defeated newcomer Anthony Phillips by 3,580 to 1,690 votes. Democrat Akins will face Republican Osborn Barker in the general election on Nov.4

Edith McCrimmon won the race for Republican state committeewoman with 1,380 votes to Juanita Melchoir's 652.

One local race that was not on the primary ballot was for Levy school superintendent where Democrat Jeff Edison and Republican Robert Hastings will face off in the Nov. 4 election.

In the race for State Representative from District 10, Levy County Republicans gave the nod to Don Curtis with 929 votes to 880 for Don Williams. District wide, the results were similar with Curtis receiving 3,519 votes to Williams' 3,347. Levy Democrats gave the nod to Leonard Bembry with 2,333 votes to 2,108 for Julie Conley. Bembry locked the nomination for the district with 16,065 votes to Conley's 11,791.

There are other counties in the district and the outcome of those votes will determine the parties' nominees.

In the race for Congress, District 5 Republican incumbent Ginny Brown-Waite received 1,360 votes to 539 for challenger Jim King in Levy and 49,111 to King's 12,228 to clinch the nomination. She will face Democrat John Russell in the November election. Russell received 1,594 to 1,431 for Carol Castagnero and 499 to H. "David" Werder in Levy County; and 16,889 to Castagnero's 12,840 and Werder's 3,530 in the district primary.