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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jul. 27, 2021 1 month ago

David Alfin wins Palm Coast mayoral election

Alfin, a real estate agent, will be Palm Coast's fourth mayor.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

David Alfin has won the six-way city of Palm Cost mayoral race and will become Palm Coast's fourth mayor.

Alfin, a real estate agent who has lived in Palm Coast for a decade, won 36.34% of the vote (6,891 votes) and was trailed by Alan Lowe, who had 26.91% (5,102 votes) and Cornelia Downing Manfre, who received 24.04% (4,558 votes), with all precincts reporting as of 8:10 p.m. on Election Day.

Of the remaining three candidates, Doug Courtney got 8.88% of the vote, Kathy Austrino received 2.85% and Carol Bacha received 0.99%.

"The expectations that have been placed on my shoulders are rather hefty, by both supporters and the public at large, but I feel energized and up to the challenge, and looking forward to making this city the best city in the best county in the best state to live in," Alfin said on Flagler Broadcasting's WNZF radio shortly after results were announced.  "...We are now talking about building a city of Palm Coast for the longterm future. This is that transition, and this is that time when the City Council requires a collaborative effort to form consensus, to unify, and to now earn back the respect of the community of the citizens of Palm Coast."

"The City Council requires a collaborative effort to form consensus, to unify, and to now earn back the respect of the community of the citizens of Palm Coast."


Speaking on the radio program, former Mayor Milissa Holland congratulated Alfin and said she was encouraged by the election's results.

"It was the outcome that I, certainly, had hoped for ... and it demonstrates to me that our community was looking for a problem solver," Holland said. 

At his first meeting after he's sworn in, on Aug. 3, Alfin will be tasked with casting a tie-breaking vote to set the city's tentative maximum property tax rate for the coming fiscal year. The tentative maximum is a rate established early in the city's budget process as a ceiling: The council can ultimately set an actual rate lower than the tentative maximum, but can not go higher. 

Two council members — Councilmen Nick Klufas and Eddie Branquinho, who both endorsed Alfin — favor setting the current property tax rate as the coming year's tentative maximum, saying that they could always reduce the rate later if upcoming budget meetings reveal that doing so would be feasible. But Councilman Ed Danko and Victor Barbosa — who'd both backed Lowe — had proposed setting the tentative maximum lower. Alfin has said he'd keep the current rate as the maximum.

He's also expected to break a potential tie on the subject of whether the city should overturn an ordinance barring most commercial vehicles from parking overnight in residential driveways. Alfin has said that he is not in favor of eliminating the ordinance, given that voters seem to be split 50-50 on the topic.

Although the mayoral race was nonpartisan, Alfin and Lowe are both Republicans, while Manfre is a Democrat. Alfin said he'd designed his campaign to appeal to Palm Coast residents regardless of their political affiliation or lack thereof.

"The mayor of the city of Palm Coast is responsible to represent the entire community — every resident of the city," he said.

Alfin's strategy was a contrast to that employed by Lowe, who'd referred to himself in campaign materials as "the conservative voice for conservative folks."

A look at the breakdown of votes by when and how they were cast shows that Alfin's lead over Lowe was strongest in the vote-by-mail category: He got 3,784 mail ballots compared to Lowe's 1,869. Cornelia Manfre earned 3,173 mail votes. The Election Day results were much closer: Alfin had 1,169 votes to Lowe's 1,157 — while early voters slightly favored Lowe, who received 2,076 early votes to Alfin's 1,938.

Alfin has presented himself as a champion of collaboration and consensus. In addition to endorsement from Klufas, Branquinho and former City Councilman Bob Cuff, he's been endorsed by the local firefighters union, the Palm Coast Professional Firefighters Local 4807; and the law enforcement union, the Flagler County Coastal Florida PBA.

Alfin has served on numerous local boards and committees, including as president of the Flagler County Education Foundation and as a member of the Realtors Association and the county's Value Assessment Board. He has graduated from both the Palm Coast and the Flagler County citizens academies and from the county's Political Leadership Institute.

He previously ran for local office in 2020, competing in a four-way race for the Palm Coast City Council District 2 seat but losing to Victor Barbosa.

Of Palm Coast's 72,510 voters, 18,980, or 26.18%, cast their ballots in the nonpartisan mayoral election.






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