Last Updated: 8:03 p.m.
For Flagler County and Palm Coast, it is an election of new faces: four races, four newcomers to elected office: Leann Pennington won a seat on the County Commission, Theresa Pontieri and Cathy Heighter won seats to the Palm Coast City Council, and Will Furry won a Flagler County School Board seat.
For Flagler County schools, the critical referendum to renew the half-cent sales tax for the third time easily won approval with 69 percent of the vote.
Pennington, the unknown Republican maverick who defeated Joe Mullins with a crushing margin in the Republican primary for the Flagler County Commission seat he held just one term, defeated independent Jane Gentile-Youd with 74 percent of the vote, a margin even larger than that of her win over Mullins, and brought a woman’s voice to what had been an all-male club for the past six years. At 45, Pennington will also be the youngest member of the commission by 14 years.
Pontieri, who’d briefly served as Sheriff Rick Staly’s in-house attorney last year, convincingly won her election against Alan Lowe for a four-year term on the Palm Coast City Council, taking 67 percent of the vote. It is Lowe’s third defeat in less than three years for a council seat. He twice ran for mayor previously.
Furry defeated Courtney VandeBunte with 59 percent of the vote, and Heighter beat Fernando Melendez with around 55 percent, the closest of the local races, for her seat on the council. She will take the place of Eddie Branquinho, who chose not to run for a second term.
Republican Rep. Paul Renner defeated Democrat Adam Morley to retain his seat in the Florida House, assuring him of the speakership in the session opening next year. He took 64 percent of the vote districtwide. U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, a Republican, won his second term in Congress, defeating Joseph Hannousch of the Libertarian Party of Florida with 74 percent of the vote district-wide.
Polls in the Panhandle closed at 8 p.m. eastern time. In the governor’s race, Ron DeSantis was assured a comfortable win over Charlie Crist, as was Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, over Orlando Democrat Val Demings. DeSantis’s margin of victory was nearing 20 points, that of Rubio 15.
If there are to be any surprises, it will be in the three constitutional amendments on the ballot. All three were squeaking by in Flagler, but by barely crossing the needed 60-percent threshold: if they had such a hard time in Flagler, a decidedly conservative county passing judgment on mostly right-wing proposals, they could not succeed statewide. And in fact as statewide numbers were tallied, all three were struggling, their approval in the 53 to 57 percent range, with the proposal to abolish the Constitutional Revision Commission certain to fail: it was polling only at 52 percent. That commission meets every 20 years.
The proposal to allow lawmakers to change property tax rules regarding improvements against flooding and a proposal to expand homestead exemptions for some public employees–the more moderate of the three proposals with its inclusion of teachers on the list of those eligible for exemptions–still had a chance, with just over half of all votes counted. But those chances were dimming as the evening progressed.
There were 11 appellate judges on the Flagler ballot–five for the Florida Supreme Court, six for the Fifth District Court of Appeal. They were up for retention. All 11 were retained by wide margins in Flagler, and statewide (for Supreme Court justices, each of whom garnered about 63 percent approval for retention) and in the district (for the Fifth, where the judges won 65 to 69 percent approval for retention districtwide).
Democrats held one statewide office: the Commissioner of Agriculture. Nikki Fried had to resign in her run for governor, which she lost in the primary to Crist. The office is reverting to a Republican, Wilton Simpson, who defeated Naomi Esther Blemur. Attorney general Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis were winning their reelection races easily.
Voter turnout in Flagler was strong for an off-year election, at 62 percent, but it fell short of the 2018 mark of 65 percent. It also means that 36,000 eligible voters in Flagler County did not cast a ballot.
It was another dismal night in a long line of dismal election nights for Flagler and Florida Democrats. But at least they had Tropical Storm Nicole to look forward to.
General Election 2022 Results: Flagler County's Local and State Races
|Flagler School Board, District 2|
|Palm Coast City Council, District 2|
|Theresa Carli Pontieri||24529||67.49|
|Palm Coast City Council, District 4|
|Cathy D. Heighter||19041||54.55|
|Flagler County Commission, District 4|
|Commissioner of Agriculture|
|Naomi Esther Blemur||17948||32.65|
|Representative in Congress, District 6|
|United State Senator|
|Steven B. Grant||179||.32|
|Tuan TQ Nguyen||80||.14|
|Governor and Lieutenant Governor|
|Limitation on the Assessment of Real Property|
|Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission|
|Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption|
|School Board Half Cent Sales Surtax|
|State Representative, District 19|
Congratulations to Leann Pennington, Theresa Pontieri, and Cathy Heighter!
Agree with your congratulatory comments Ms. Medley. Thanks for saying it first !!!
Dems we will learn to vote in big numbers soon. Am tired of white Republican leaders. Their leadership stinks.
Donna Heiss says
This sounds a bit racist to me
The Geode says
Are paying attention to the black-ran democratic cities or are you just concentrating on ONE color? Ask yourself, where would YOU be without the people you constantly complain about?…
Would probably be better off without the people you stay I complain about. My ancestors would have been. There would be more of my people but your white friends lynched, burnt, raped,denied and many other bad things. They murdered my ancestors. Many more African Americans would be alive today but the people I complain about killed them. Perhaps you need to learn the history of your white friends. Thank you.
The Geode says
Obviously, you don’t know much about the parts of Africa that don’t have “white people” intervening. They live in huts, raping and pillaging, trafficking girls, and turning boys into soldier slaves. Just like here, white people have to build infrastructures, power plants, water filtration, and the welfare that allowed you to be born. How many of us would have been alive today if it wasn’t for another black man? Do you even read? Do you NOT know about the most dangerous places in this country that YOU wouldn’t walk from one neighborhood to the other? Hell, black people kill as many white people as other white people kill white people. You just be saying stuff without facts or even a believable opinion. And yes, I do have “white friends”. Those white friends would be willing to help me when the black people I grew up with would be too busy laughing at my downfall. My friends have no color. They are my friends. How many do you have?
The dude says
The old “I have a black friend, so I can’t possibly be racist” card…
That’s a sure fire tell that the person you’re talking to is racist. As if the paragraphs you just wrote weren’t proof enough.
Blaming the handful of Dem voters here is absolutely wild!
Flagler Dems didn’t run anyone against Waltz and didn’t even bother to show up at the library yesterday! It looked like a desantis rally
No one owes the Democratic party a vote. Make an effort.
“… Furry was comfortably ahead of Courtney VandeBunte,…”
So much for a life-long devotion to the craft of teaching… and she was even teacher of the year.
“… and Heighter was just as comfortably ahead of Fernando Melendez… ”
And who’s Heighter?
Furry on the School Board is an insult to the students. parents and teachers. And DeSantis ‘ endorsement of him insults all the citizens.
And confirms his lies about caring for education. What a shame!
Freedom lives here in Florida.
One of the 40% says
But then it gets out voted in a 60/40 split.
Deborah Coffey says
It used to live here. Now, Florida is the first Fascist state in the nation. Our freedoms will be taken away, one by one. Ron DeSantis used his small kids as campaign props in Trump gear, sent a bunch of Venezuelan asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard unannounced at 1.6 million taxpayer’s expense, lost $300 million in Florida retirement money on the Russian stock exchange, hired a dubious doctor to undermine vaccinations, penalized Disney for mere speech opposing his anti gay bill, suspended elected officials for disagreement on abortion enforcement still being litigated in court, hid the deportation of Cubans risking all to come in by boat so the Calle Ocho crowd wouldn’t get mad, suspended the Orange County health director for scolding his work force to get vaccinated, used heavy handed attempts to manipulate the Covid numbers, destroyed Key West’s attempt to regulate the size of numbers of cruise ship drunks coming ashore, bullied high school kids on stage and doubled the deaths of school kids in the first 6 weeks of school in 2021 by forbidding masks. THIS is what you call “freedom?”
Congratulations to Commissioner Pennington and Council Woman Theresa Carli Pontieri changes are good for us.
Finally we get ride of the crazy Jane Gentile-Youd lady, good bye Jane, wow we dodged a bullet there.
Heighter & Furry got lucky I’m concerned about what they really bring to their respective positions.
Allan Lowe you’re a good man it just doesn’t seem like it was your time twice.
Danko were sending to out town like you shouldn’t have ever moved here.
I got the video tape to prove it, lol and you know what I mean you jerk. So does the radio station.
Can we not use maverick? No Republican is a maverick. They are all insane supporters of the insurrection and want to make certain groups of people vanish. They don’t want you to read books or have your kids read either. They don’t want to teach real history. They just want to say oooh drag queens are bad. Ooohhh they’re new boogyqueen.
I will never look at a Republican or someone that voted for one and think wow we have so much in common let’s be friends. No I will think you hate me because of how I look of who I am and want me dead. MAGA killed any use of maverick. Now you’re all just full of hate and it’s all I see anymore. There is no real freedom with the GQP fascist traitors. How your worlds will change and soon. They won’t stop with people like me. They will come for your condoms and birth control and your right to vote and your relationships and stop you from divorcing. And I will laugh.
Call me crazy, but it sounds like you are the one with the hate. I don’t see a lot of Republicans on here call people insane etc…You may want to seek some help my friend.
Tired of it says
You obviously missed the sleazyFlurry campaing materials. No , it isn’t Democrats spewing hate for anyone who isn’t a Republican. It isn’t Democrats who are banning books, trying to jail the parents of transgender children, tellng women they can’t make their own decisions and it isn’t Democrats trying to cut Social Security and Medicare. It isn’t Democrats who idolize a lying, corrupt, treasonous individual who incited an insurrection. Take a good ook at who is spewing hate …not Democrats. It isn’t Democrats who kust voted for a sleazy, unqualied, liar over a qualified Democrat who ran a clean campaign.
And what exactly is the Republcan plan on inflation?
You sound a little on edge, hope you can find peace my friend.
Lorie L Robinson says
I agree with “Tired of it says”.
Your opinion is just that your, opinion. Does sound like you are short of facts, though. Your arm chair diagnosis does not alter the facts. Just a pity attempt at distraction and cover.
Heathen lady says
You’re right, I’m sick and tired of the gaslighting, too.
What the Hell are you ? Surely, your not human.
Freedom at 40% says
Seek help and God bless you.
You need to stop watching the news and talk to people.
Do you live alone and own many cats?
Adam friedland says
What about Jain gentle you’d
Julie smith says
She’s a lunatic
locally we threw out the crazy’s, good !
Will you finally go away Alan Lowe ? Is this the 3rd or 4th election you have lost?
Courtney, I am shocked and disappointed. Please don’t give up. Keep fighting. For the children of Flagler county
“… For the children of Flagler county… ”
If they really cared about children they would have voted for her… it’s a disgrace in my opinion.
James, I totally agree with you on this.
@James and others here,
This GOP family voted for Courtney. It is a tragedy for us all that she was defeated. Furry is in no way qualified to hold this seat.
locally we threw out the crazy’s, again and again and again, good bye alan lowe !
Tim Mcauliffe says
Will Furry rode the Ted Knight endorsement hard, “The world needs ditch diggers too”.
The dude says
Furry ride straight up tribalism into this seat.
Good lord, a man with no formal education at all, and like 9 bankruptcies is now one of the 5 people in charge of my daughters education.
I can’t see Palm Coast and Flagler county in my rear view soon enough. Just waiting for the right house to pop up in the right zip code on Zillow to make an offer. I’ll sell my house , and it’s recently doubled tax bill, to some NY or NJ resident for cash and double my money. Or maybe keep it and turn it into an AirBNB.
Deborah C. says
Anyone who cares about their children’s future and education will leave this state. I’m so embarrassed to live here. Moving back to Massachusetts. In Massachusetts their state export is intellect. So sad for all the indoctrinated children . Grooming them in jingoism and ignorance with a healthy dose of arrogance.
Thank God for Leann . We finally got someone in Flagler with a brain and concern for its residents . Good luck Leann
The vast majority of the state voted Red. Miami-Dade, a very racially diverse county voted Red. The great state of Florida is no loner a “swing state.” It is now Red! We are your friends, neighbors, teachers, first-responders, mechanics, doctors, nurses, sanitation engineers, service-industry workers, etc. You should respect our vote.
Tony R. says
Actually Miami-Dade is 70% Hispanic and if you listen to Hispanic radio stations democrats are communist demons. It’s an old playbook, in Hitlers Germany Jews were “animals “. In Castros Cuba anyone leaving or opposed to his regime were “worms” , “lumpen” , “trash” it allows normal people to look at someone who might think differently as evil and not a true American . There was a time in this country when you could disagree with someone without hate. I’m afraid with social media control and craziest leaders ever that time is gone.
The Geode says
Unlike the people I am surrounded by that subscribe to monolithic groupthink, I voted (R) across the board. Joe Biden said, “we are not a very diverse group of people”. Thankfully, he doesn’t know all of us…
And I cancelled you out so there,,,,
Completely Embarrassed says
This reveals a lot about us Flagler County and it ain’t good! Particularly the school board election, this is ridiculous. This is embarrassing Flagler County. These are kids, our future! Is this who we’ve voted to speak on our kids behalf? Do we know longer value qualifications? Student, graduate, degree, teacher of the year, decent, mother, come on Flagler County! I voted for a qualified degreed teacher of the year, not a “graduate from the school of hard knocks”, really? I feel sorry the kids in this county, the dedicated teachers and hardworking school and district staff, they deserve better than Furry over Courtney! It is now a fact that we got it wrong again on our school board!
Fraud, waste, abuse says
AJ, I see you are at it again! White Republican leaders stink??? Really? What if somebody posted a comment saying that a black Democrat is too dumb to lead, would that be okay? How can we ever get along if we think like that?
A Democrat says
Don’t worry. People already stand on street corners waving flags that say “Democrats Suck”
And worse. While lamenting the “lack of civility”. Such hypocrites.
Michael Cocchiola says
For the life of me, I cannot comprehend this county electing Will Furry, a totally unprepared culture warrior, to the school board and rejecting Courtney VandeBunte who was designed for the position.
Congratulations to the extremist Moms for Lunacy for orchestrating this direct attack on public education.
Deborah C. says
Devastated for the children. It proves the adage, “the ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance.”
Wow… What are these comments?? Thanks for the laugh.
Edith Campins says
How dissapointing that Republicans have once again proven they would rather vote for a bad Republican over a good Democrat. Flurry ran a sleazy campaign, has no qualification and no actual platform and yet this who they want influencing their children’s education.
Dennis C Rathsam says
In Flagler county, as in Palm Coast, there are more folks voting rebublicans because the democrates dont have any good candidates. We have witnesed the mess of the decline of America, thanx to the democrat party. Just look at the numbers…. You all here on this platform hate De Santis… he won in a landslide. Maybe you all should move to a democratic state, were crime rules. Florida will always be free, thanx to the GOP!
Courtney VandeBunte was a good candidate, and you would know that if you had listened to her talk, or followed her credentials. Furry has no credentials regarding education. Education is not important in Flagler County, as this election has proven. Republicans are dumbing down America.
DeSantis’s idea of freedom:
Government controlled uteruses
Government controlled hormones
Book banning ala 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 (for those of you who don’t know, those are books)
Tricking legal immigrants and illegally trafficking them from Texas to Massachusetts on taxpayers dime
Government shoving one religion down everyone’s throats
Not knowing what woke means
Government controlled marriage decisions
Government controlled gender decisions
Government telling you who you may or may not love
Government suppression of teachers and professors, preferring inexperienced soldiers to teach kids
Government controlled conversations of history
Government restrictive voting
Government protecting machine guns over children’s lives
Republicans have a very odd concept of “freedom.”
Election cycles bring out the worse in people. Lies, hate, verbal and sometimes physical violence are all truly unnecessary and, quite honestly, pathetic. The late Rodney King may not have been a pillar of society, but his words stand true and often find a place in tough times. “Can’t we all just get along”?
Tony R says
Keep an eye on Furry, watch the deals he reaches behind close doors to his benefit. What does this guy have to do with education that would be beneficial to our students ? It’s about power and money. Courtney was the best choice.
No she wasn’t. So happy she didn’t win. Don’t need her liberal agenda in our schools.
Tired of it says
Instead of a qualified teacher who ran a clean campaign you voted for an unqualified individual, who even by Republican standards ran a sleazy, dishonest campaign. He had no real platform, no experience. Did you read about her qualifications? Did you do any research on her? My guess is you listened to the fringe and made your decision based on ignorance. What exactly can you say about his plans?
Skye Puddintime says
I bet the 43% of those who voted for her do NOT Have kids in the system. Glad the votes went this way. Don’t need a Social justice warrior in our school board..
Thank God I don’t have kids in this state, or its schools… public or private… you better believe it.
Yup, I voted for her. All I read was her qualifications… thought she was the best choice for the position… don’t know what all this “Social justice warrior” talk is about. Perhaps you can enlighten us?
If anyone sounded like a social justice warrior it would be Furry (from the right) in my opinion. But what I’d like to now see is Furry at least take some community college courses in education, now that he’s got a job in education. Hey, never too late to learn something new and perhaps even earn another degree… to put on the wall next to his other one from the “School of Hard Knocks.”
Just my opinion.
SP: Okay, that was weird.
Tony R. says
You’re right Sky, why would we want a Social Justice Warrior in the school board when on the 8th day God named a “fighter “as our Gov ?( soon to run for commander in chief ) and if you don’t believe me, ask his wife.
The GOP hitched their wagon to someone who only goes in one direction, which is further down. Let’s see how low he’ll sink this time. Maybe he’ll take the entire party with him. They don’t have anything to offer except plans to take away rights from minorities, women, and LGBTQ people anyway. Not much of a loss.
What a joke.. the dirtiest guy in politics has dirt on the 2nd dirtiest guy..
Jane Gentile -Youd is a great lady and does not deserve these comments. She has been a supporter of Flagler Live. FlaglerLive, you have no right to post these vicious comments. What has happened to your values? These ignorant nasty people obviously voted for Mullins last time and we all saw how that turned out.
We know nothing about Pennington apart from the fact she’s a Republican. Why were the windows in her family’s house shot out? Were they involved in anything? Shes already taken $2000 from people who have cost Flagler County $77,000. They will expect a return on their ‘investment’.
As the old saying goes, ‘Be careful what you wish for’
Clearly you didn’t listen to the forum. She said her neighbors windows were shot out. Maybe the community doesn’t know her, but they know Jane and Jane was a no go for many. Congrats Flagler on getting rid of the crazies.
The one that does not care says
Wow sounds like this was written by Jane Gentle Youd.
Katrina Friel says
Evidence of people voting party lines and not based on the qualifications and character of the candidate. The School Board gets another scummy nut. Flagler County really lost a gem by not voting for Courtney.
Katrina: Actually, nationwide, I was really impressed that so many did not vote party line! It gave me hope that people were voting for candidates they had studied. I am perplexed, though, that Arizona voted for Democrat Kelly, a reasonable man, and are in a toss up for Lake, a total nut case who called half of the U.S. population “bastards.” Unfortunately, my home state of Florida voted party line.
This too shall pass.
Sure are a lot of kind loving liberal Democrat on this page. 😆
What Else Is New says
One of the saddest election results of the mid-terms is that Courtney VandeBunte lost to a completely unqualified individual. It is indeed devastating that Flagler County voters did not research the issues or the character of these two candidates. I am ashamed of those voters who did not care enough to do so.
TAKE YOUR SIGNS DOWN NOW! says
CONGRATS TO ALL THE WINNERS! NOW KEEP PALM COAST BEAUTIFUL PICK UP ALL THE DAMN SIGNS BEFORE THIS WEATHER BLOWS THEM ALL OVER THE PLACE! (Whoops, sorry for the cap lock button!)
I do not have any children in this school system, but do have a grandchild who attends school here. Just what we need another nut job on the school board. What does Furry know about education of children. Lord help us, hopefully smarter minds will prevail.
From an article I read awhile back right here on Flagler Live, Furry was “endorsed” by DeSantis and that appeared to be enough for the majority of Republicans to read no further about other candidates. All they cared about was voting for Furry because of his so called endorsement, rather than his qualifications, or lack their of.
Furry sounds like a wild card to me.
Whoever DeSantis endorsed won in this state…no matter how useless or harmful they can be to most local voters. Everyone hang on tight for the approaching wild ride!
Vanderbuten and Gentile Youd are a real honest loss to the local resident student and taxpayer. Time will show it! Hope I am wrong.
The dude says
How many of you old birds supporting furry even have children in Flagler county schools?