There was good weather until about 2:45 p.m. this afternoon for a barbecue and political festivities to dedicate the new campaign headquarters of the Republican Party of St. Johns County — but the anticipated crowds were light.
The Saturday event was advertised to begin at noon, however, with the exception of Jerry Stalvey who was hired to feed the attendees and was hard at work earlier this morning, only a small handful of candidates had arrived and were jockeying for position in the parking lot at 12:05 p.m. — hoping to capture the best exposure for their campaign signs.
By 1:00 p.m. those who were on the scene were being introduced.
One campaign supporter commented that her team had hoped for a better turnout and participation from voters in the community — since the event was being sponsored by the Republican Executive Committee. “However” she added “I am already accustomed to this year’s political events being attended largely by other candidates and their volunteers”.
Uniformed police were seen at the event which some in attendance found to be “reassuring”.
There was some speculation after recent news stories in neighboring Flagler County regarding a political event that was shut down when protesters showed up wearing what some labeled as “offensive” t-shirts.
The shirts were reportedly worn by off-duty law enforcement officers who were not supporting the re-election bid of State Attorney John Tanner. Tanner and his political opponent, local attorney R. J. Larizza, were both in attendance today.
The only protester we saw this afternoon was Betty Jean (B. J.) Kalaidi — who is regularly seen around town peacefully holding her signs and waving to passersby.
There were rumors of another disturbance Thursday night at the scene of today’s GOP event involving one of the local club’s volunteer officers. The St. Augustine Republican Club had already announced that “due to unforeseen circumstances” a previously advertised photo gallery called “The Republican Connection” would not be available for viewing today.
Photo credit: Historic City Media news photographer Kerry McGuire