Republican revolution: Three takeaways from the Flagler County election results
UPDATE: This story was updated on Nov. 14 to reflect that there were zero Democratic victories in November. Previously, the story said there were no victories this year.
After she got home from school on Election Day, my 7-year-old daughter, Ellie, told me she had voted for Hillary Clinton in the mock election held in her first-grade class. I asked what made her pick Hillary, and she said, “Just my feeling. I don’t really do things for a reason.”
Before the drama unfolded on the national stage, however, we got our local results, and I was privileged to join David Ayres, Patrick Kelly and Milissa Holland at the WNZF studio to talk politics. Here are my three takeaways regarding the local races:
1. Flagler County is a Republican town.
There were zero Democratic victories in this November's local results. Zero. (Colleen Conkin, a Democrat, was re-elected to the School Board in the Aug. 30 primary and is the lone elected Democrat in Flagler County.) The national and state races were 60-40 landslides for Republicans.
Former City Councilman Jason DeLorenzo, in my view, was an extremely strong Democratic candidate for County Commission and lost. George Hanns, a Democratic incumbent for the County Commission, lost big.
And even more surprising, Democratic incumbent Barbara Revels lost her seat on the County Commission after eight strong years. In my view, there was no good reason to remove her.
Challenger Dave Sullivan entered the race at the last minute and easily defeated a no-show opponent in the Republican primary. Then, in my view, he rode the Republican momentum into office. That’s not to take away from his abilities; I believe Sullivan will do a great job, and he has been a key player in Republican leadership here for years. He’s smart, principled and goodhearted.
But this has to be concerning for future Democratic candidates.
2. Nick Klufas comes back to win.
Political newcomer Nick Klufas has achieved something remarkable: The 28-year-old defeated Pam Richardson to join the Palm Coast City Council. Richardson, who has paid her dues by being involved for years in the political world, got more votes than Klufas in the primary, making her the favorite on Nov. 8. But Klufas turned things around and won 53-47. It was an impressive win, and I look forward to big things from him.
3. Maria Barbosa wins in a landslide.
The Observer was critical of Maria Barbosa in our endorsements and recommended her opponent, Myra Middleton-Valentine. But Barbosa is a fighter. I congratulate her on her dramatic, 60-40 win, and I look forward to getting to know her better over the next four years.
To all the candidates, thank you for your dedication to making our community such a wonderful place to raise my family.