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Greg Hansen, Trevor Tucker, Joe Mullins Win, Janet McDonald , Fischer, Tipton and Branquinho in Runoffs

| August 28, 2018

Greg Hansen has won the Republican primary for his County Commission seat, defeating Abby Romaine. (© FlaglerLive)

Greg Hansen has won the Republican primary for his County Commission seat, defeating Abby Romaine. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 9:01 p.m.

Nails could rest easy tonight: few were bit as election-night results quickly sharpened into certainties, only a few of them surprising, soon after the release of the first batch of numbers: those numbers set a tone that prevailed the rest of the evening. And one of the biggest winners wasn’t on the ballot: Supervisor of Elections Kaiti Lenhart, who saw turnout surge to a level not seen in at least four off-year primary elections. 

County Commissioner Greg Hansen decisively won the Republican primary against fellow-Republican Abby Romaine in District 2. Romaine campaigned little, Hansen spent much. But it was Hansen’s first election win: he’d been appointed to the seat by Gov. Rick Scott less than two years ago, after the death of Commissioner Frank Meeker. 

The Georgia newcomer Joe Mullins, who contended with searing questions of character throughout his campaign, defeated Nate McLaughlin in the Republican primary for District 4, a stinging defeat for the two-term incumbent who not long ago was eyeing a legislative seat. The result also bodes ill for County Administrator Craig Coffey: Coffey has now lost one of his most loyal defenders on a commission where his survival hangs by only one vote anymore, if that, as Mullins made clear he would aim to fire Coffey. McLaughlin is the first political casualty of the controversy over the Sheriff’s Operations Center, with which he’s been closely associated since he approved that seemingly befouled building’s purchase in 2013.

Carl Jones taking a moment to wipe his brow less than two hours before polls closed this evening, as he campaigned off Old Kings Road. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Carl Jones taking a moment to wipe his brow less than two hours before polls closed this evening, as he campaigned off Old Kings Road. Click on the image for larger view.
(© FlaglerLive)

With nearly all votes counted, incumbent School Board member Trevor Tucker has easily defeated Paul Anderson, in Anderson’s second lunge at a school board seat. Tucker, who reviles campaigning, did little of it, but Anderson campaigned even less and helped out Tucker by espousing positions often foreign to most conventional cardinal points.

In the more contested school board race, incumbent Janet McDonald is headed for a rematch in a November runoff with John Fischer, who was the incumbent when McDonald beat him four years ago. McDonald and Fischer are edging out Carl Jones in what may be the biggest surprise of the evening. In a straw poll a few weeks ago at a Chamber of Commerce event, Jones beat Fischer and McDonald, the latter coming in third. The assumption was that Jones, a Democrat, could count on the Democratic vote while McDonald and Fischer split the Republican vote in this non-partisan race.

trevor tucker

There was some speculation last year that Trevor Tucker would run for Tax Collector, replacing Suzanne Johnston at the end of her current run. That would be in 2018. But Tucker has pledged to complete his term on the School Board regardless. Click on the image for larger view.
(© FlaglerLive)

But the primary drew an overwhelming number of Republican voters (55 percent) and comparatively fewer Democrats (37 percent), while independents largely stayed home (7.9 percent of the vote was independent in a county where 28 percent of voters register independent), thus wiping out Jones’s presumed advantage.

The vote did split between McDonald and Fischer, but also propelled both into the run-off. Jones may have to choose whom to endorse, a decision that could make the difference in the November election.

Hansen, ahead with 64 percent of the vote, will face Dennis McDonald, an independent, in the general election in November. Mullins, with 57 percent of the vote at last count, will face another newcomer, Jane Gentile-Youd, also an independent, in the general election.

Tucker will be elected outright, unlike McDonald and that race’s second-place finisher. Tucker had previously 

joe mullins

Joe Mullins was finishing up the day’s campaigning at the public library in Palm Coast, with his wife Jennifer and his son Jessie. Click on the image for larger view. ‘I’m glad to amp down a bit,’ he said toward the end of the day.
(© FlaglerLive)

In the non-partisan Palm Coast City Council race for District 4, Eddie Branquinho and John Tipton battled it out for the lead, with Branquinho finally edging Tipton out by a handful of votes and Corinne Hermle in third. Branquinho and Tipton are headed for a run-off in November, since none of the candidates will clear the 50 percent threshold. The results are surprising in one regard: Hermle hardly campaigned and did not have so much as a campaign account to speak of, yet nevertheless polled very strongly. In the Live Interview, she had come across as the brightest and most accomplished of the three. Tipton and Branquinho are now likely to cover her endorsement.

The Palm Coast Council has another race on the ballot in November: that between former Mayor and Council member Jon Netts and former Sheriff candidate and Teens-In-Flight Founder and director Jack Howell.

John Fischer, standing up to the sun in his fourth campaign since 2006. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

John Fischer, standing up to the sun in his fourth campaign since 2006. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

In Flagler and in Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis was well ahead of Adam Putnam for the nomination for governor, but if Gwen Graham was ahead of Andrew Gillum in the Democratic race in Flagler, it was too close to call statewide. Democrat Nancy Soderberg easily beat John Upchurch and Stephen Sevigny for the 6th Congressional District seat DeSantis is vacating, both in Flagler and across the district (with 55 percent of the vote). Michael Waltz won the Republican primary in that race, ahead of John Ward and third-place finisher Fred Costello. Rick Scott has won the Republican primary for Senate and will face incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, who had no opposition.

Off-year primary election turnout is notoriously low. But turnout this year was significantly higher than it’s been in the past three off-year primary elections: 30 percent of the registered electorate voted this year. In 2014, the previous off-year primary election, turnout was just 19.3 percent. It was 22 percent in 2010, and 23 percent in 2006. The higher rate this year may have at least something to do with Supervisor of Elections Kaiti Lenhart, elected in 2016 and in office since 2015. Lenhart has emphasized voter outreach.

janet mcdonald

Not done yet: Janet McDonald today. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Election Day itself was again anticlimactic: 62 percent of Flagler’s registered voters chose to vote by mail or in early voting. Fewer than 10,000 did so today.

There was one documented issue of a voter reporting that there’d already been a signature on the signature pad she had to sign, before she had a chance to sign her name. (Eligible voters present their identification at their polling place, and once cleared, are required to sign on an electronic, so-called EViD pad, the electronic polling book that’s replaced the paper and pen version. See details about EViD here.) Lenhart had been told of the issue, and said in an email that balances and totals, between signatures on the pad and the actual votes cast, were equal. The previous signature had been that of a voter who’d been at the wrong precinct. Since that signature had not been accepted for voting, it did not automatically clear and had to be manually cleared by an EViD monitor, Lenhart said.

The incident appears isolated. “I confirmed the signature verification procedures were being followed at this location by phone at 8:45 A.M. with the Assistant Clerk,” Lenhart said. “I have no reason to believe that ‘ballots are mysteriously marking themselves’ at any location in Flagler County.”

Primary Election 2018 Results: Flagler County's Local Races and State Races

Candidate and Race
Flagler School Board, District 2
Janet McDonald
John Fischer683531.85
Carl Jones586727.34
Flagler School Board, District 4
Paul Anderson914044.61
Trevor Tucker
Palm Coast City Council, District 4
Eddie Branquinho574535.27
Corinne Hermle487629.94
John E. Tipton IV566634.79
Flagler County Commission, District 2, Republican Primary
Greg Hansen
Abby Romaine420535.93
Flagler County Commission, District 4, Republican Primary
Nate McLaughlin520143.09
Joe Mullins686956.91
Circuit Judge, Group 15
Linda L. Gaustad(6695)(32.57)
Sebrina L. Slack(6290)(30.60)
Ryan Will(7571)(36.83)
US Senate, Republican Primary
Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente(1059)(8.11)
Rick Scott(12001)(91.89)
Congressional Representative, District 6, Republican Primary
Fred Costello(2932)(23.57)
Michael Waltz(5456)(43.85)
John Ward(4053)(32.58)
Congressional Representative, District 6, Democratic Primary
Stephen Sevigny(2180)(25.41)
Nancy Soderberg(5020)(58.52)
John Upchurch(1378)(16.06)
Attorney General, Republican Primary
Ashley Moody(6500)(52.37)
Frank White(5912)(47.63)
Attorney General, Democratic Primary
Sean Shaw(5346)(67.03)
Ryan Torrens(2629)(32.97)
Commissioner of Agriculture, Republican Primary
Matt Caldwell(4415)(37.85)
Denise Grimsley(3371)(28.--9075)
Mike McCalister(1868)(16.01)
Baxter Troutman(2011)(17.24)
Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic Primary
Nicole "Nikki" Fried(4638)(57.29)
Jeffrey Duane Porter(1378)(17.02)
Roy David Walker(20280(25.69)
Governor, Republican Primary
Don Baldauf(60)(.46)
Ron DeSantis(9009)(69.47)
Timothy M. Devine(96)(.74)
Bob Langford(112)(0.86)
John Joseph Mercadante(62)(.48)
Bruce Nathan(81)(.62)
Adam H. Putnam(3370)(25.99)
Bob White(179)(1.38)
Governor, Democratic Primary
Andrew Gillum(2258)(25.79)
Gwen Graham(3629)(41.45)
Jeff Greene(1079)(12.32)
Chris King(243)(2.78)
Philip Levine(1413)(16.14)
Alex "Lundy" Lundmark(54)(0.62)
John Wetherbee(80)(0.91)
Note: For statewide and multi-county results, as in the races for governor, senate and judicial races, the total tally appears first, followed by the Flagler-only tally in parenthesis.

See the Supervisor of Elections’ chart here.

A voter pulling out of the VFW polling precinct late this afternoon on Old Kings Road in Palm Coast. (© FlaglerLive)

A voter pulling out of the VFW polling precinct late this afternoon on Old Kings Road in Palm Coast. (© FlaglerLive)

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25 Responses for “Greg Hansen, Trevor Tucker, Joe Mullins Win, Janet McDonald , Fischer, Tipton and Branquinho in Runoffs”

  1. Fiscal says:

    Mullins is such a fool. Thanks so much for voting him in. Verify his assets, please

  2. True American says:

    Flagler county lost the most genuine commissioner, wait and see. in few month you going to miss one of best level head American. Nate you always be in our heart as genuine, respectable and honest American. I wish you lots of luck in the future. God Bless.

  3. 107 says:

    Congratulations Joe Mullins!!!! Don’t drink the Coffey and let us down. Meeker, Revels, Hanns—-all gone!!!!!

  4. Trailer Bob says:

    You are correct Fiscal. Mullins is a fool because he employees 400 people and is intelligent and successful. I guess you would rather have someone with a total net work of $19,000 and who filed bankruptcy because he handled money so well. And that income most likely includes his realtor career AND his commissioner stipend. Nothing against Nate, but he is not qualified to be a commissioner, sort of like many others are not qualified. It isn’t about personalities, it is about running a business. And if you cannot run a business then the rest of us taxpayers all pay the price. Have a nice day!

  5. Joan Affatato says:

    Now Jane Gentile Youd had better beat Mullins. The voters in this county should read about Mullins before they vote in November. McLaughlin raised our taxes every year he was in office. Wait until you see what Mullins is going to do if he gets elected.

  6. 107 says:

    We the people have spoken—-Nate McLaughlin you are FIRED!

    In November Dennis McDonald will replace Greg “Roly Poly” Hansen. We never elected Hansen into office and his appointment is fulfilled! He can go work with his buddy Jack Abramoff who is now out of Prison.

  7. Ashamed says:

    I am totally ashamed of Flagler County. You have let a total self centered stranger come into this county and lie about EVERYTHING. He even admitted it to Palm Coast Observer and they endorsed him. He threw money into the hands of some organizations to get there support. WOW at the people that can be bought.
    He’s lied about his income. He’s lied about being on different boards. Lied about being apart of developments. My Lord why can’t you do your homework. Look at his past.
    You think Nate McLaughlin didn’t take care of you, just wait and see what you get from this lying want a be!
    Shame shame shame!

  8. Joe says:

    Grear pic of Tom on his gold wing!

  9. Concerned Citizen says:

    I personally voted for all new faces hoping for change.

    I see the citizens of this county have spoken and want more of the same. During the course of the next few years when things don’t go right you only have one person to blame and that’s yourself.

    Changes start at the polls and the only way to promote change is to get new people in office

  10. oldtimer says:

    By Nate, maybe now we can get rid of that self centered Coffey

  11. lena marshall says:

    Yes, Flagler County you did it again, Joe Mullis will bring a new meaning to “candidate” to our County. This is a bad choice.
    Then, allowing John Fisher into the race again, another bad choice, a man who walks around pretending he is all that. Remember folks, he tried to use his relationship with the old Sheriff to bring his wife off a charge of manslaughter. . Now, he will pretend to be something he is not to get back into working with our kids. He is a fraud

  12. capt says:

    A perfect example of what happens when a small percentage of people vote. There are 81,634 registered voters as of July 2018 in Flagler County. Do the math. Nobody has a right to complain about anything in Flagler County if they didn’t vote.

  13. Jim O says:

    BRAVO… Please check his trail of $.

  14. Judy P says:

    Now we have to chose from a candidate who leans far right and embraces Trump — god help us — and the other who is far left. Can’t we get someone in the middle who really represents where most of us stand????

  15. tulip says:

    To CAPT Don’t forget, 22,000+ of the 81,000 voters are registered as Independents or NPA, and they can’t vote in a partisan primary race. So those votes were lost. However, they can vote for whomever they choose in the General so that will make a difference in who gets elected, more so than just having only the Dems and Reps vote. Probably a more “realistic” vote.

  16. palmcoaster says:

    Now in the November general elections we need to vote for Dennis McDonald our honest good watch dog for conservation of our green areas and trees that shade us in the punishing summer sun. That also battles to prevent waste of our hard earned taxes and the fair elections account by our Elections Canvasing Board work and that would love to get a better county manager and won’t drink his Coffey. I known this honest man for many years and can’t wait till he is our commissioner to use also his expertise in construction that put him against the purchase and awful contaminated repair of the Hospital building were they sat our Sheriff Staly and his employees just to get sick.
    Dennis has relentlessly fought since I known him many years for the real well being and quality of life and financial improvement of this county residents and tax waste prevention.

  17. Jane Gentile-Youd says:

    How about checking out both NPAs running in Nov. Check my bio and 16+ years of real involvement in Flagler County! It ain’t over until the General Election Nov 6!

  18. Momof2 says:

    “Dennis McDonald To Sue Palm Coast for 3rd Time in 5 Years, 2nd Time Over Sidewalk Fall”, and this is the person some people are pushing for?!? I love Janet but this man can go take a seat and face a wall somewhere..

  19. PCResident2000 says:

    I wanted to remind a particular group of people, many from New Jersey, that you should not vote for someone just because they are from your same country. Many of these people voted for a particular candidate, whose name I won’t mention, just because he was Portuguese and didn’t even bother voting for anyone else on the ballot. Shame on You!

  20. Quality of Life says:

    I wanted Nate out because he was more interested in making deals with developers than looking out for the future of Flagler Co. and it’s residents. Joe Mullins is EVEN MORE interested in making inside deals for developments that he wants to be involved in. Developers don’t make trust worthy commissioners! Joe ” DEVELOPER ” Mullins spent way more $$$ on this primary than he would make in a year as a Commissioner. What does all that tell you?

  21. palmcoaster says:

    Of course Jane….you have ours and our friends ballots! Tough I don’t know you as I know Dennis and his wife Janet for School Board. Both always fiscally conservative watch dogs for quality services, good education and proper use of our hard earned taxes!
    With your experience in Miami Dade hope you beat you opponent a tough cookie shinning with big campaign $$ so far looks like on his platform against Coffey that most voters do not like.

  22. Reality Check says:

    What a disappointment. A crook and an extreme right winger. Joe Mullins hired people to hold his signs on Election Day. He is all about money..for himself.

  23. Ugh.... says:

    The Portuguese community should be embarrassed of going out and voting for Branquinho. Do they not remember the joke he was leading the Portuguese American Cultural Center????? Taking his hissy fits when someone challenged him, quitting a few times when the going got tough. And…When he decided to stick around, he would give his long drawn out misinformed speeches. At least it was fun to hear that he claimed to be misinformed when people would show information to the contrary of his rants. He gave us a few chuckles and he kept us entertained…. BUT A LEADER HE WAS NOT! He is rude, self-centered and arrogant. On several occasions he berated his wife and son to the point of tears in public. I have heard his police career in NJ was not as stellar as he claims. For all the people who voted for Corinne Hermle, please take your votes and give them to Tipton. DO NOT let this guy into office. You will regret it.

  24. Confused says:

    Can anyone explain why people living outside of district 4 should be allowed to vote on our commissioner? I don’t think the folks in palm coast know what the west side needs…

  25. palmcoaster says:

    Is my advise to all that voted in Precint 27 the community center in Palm Coast Parkway and Club House Drive call the SOE office 313-4170 and make sure that you are still shown in the voters roll as active voter to the November General election. The reason for my concern is that my husband also had the incident of several signatures shown on the Evid screen when he was to sign after his ID was scanned and also he had to ask for the screen to be blank before he signed as. Even above SOE states the amount of signatures matched the number of ballots I have a concern about it. If a voter had no signature on file registered, then I figure that tough the ballots were counted may show that the voter didn’t vote and us such deemed off the rolls..? So the best way is to call the SOE office and make sure we are all shown as active voters on the rolls for November.

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