During the tabulation of last night’s ballots in the Republican Primary, of 16,888 ballots voted in the District 2 race, 39-year-old Jeb Smith, a fifth-generation farmer, won with 7,286 (43%) votes. Community activist, advocate for children’s education issues, and a former Air Traffic Controller, Kim Kendall, came in second with 5,363 votes (32%).
Kendall contacted Historic City News last night and made this statement, “I congratulate Jeb Smith on his win. I am very proud of our 75-person volunteer team and the fact that we ran a clean campaign.”
But running third in the three-candidate-race, St Johns County commissioner Ronald F. Sanchez, who started his re-election campaign with arrogance and hubris, referring to Historic City News editor Michael Gold and Ponte Vedra Beach resident Dan Able as “outsiders“, and scolding sitting commissioner Bill McClure for allowing the two men in his office, finds himself on the outside looking in.
The District 2 winner appears to be a 180-degree change — and some are already saying a refreshing improvement to the makeup of the Board.
Smith has special ties to the county’s agricultural community, running the family farm in Hastings that produces cattle, hay, fish, vegetables, sod and timber. He has served on the St. Johns County Agricultural Advisory Board, and served as president of the Putnam-St. Johns County Farm Bureau. He also serves as a church pastor.
Smith told reporters in published reports that he was encouraged by several people to run. In campaign literature, Smith says that the southwest part of the county needs representation from someone with the time, capability and passion to represent agriculture — the second largest economic driver in the county.
Smith’s election to the seat is still not official — he faces a write-in candidate in the general election. “We’ll be running against a blank line,” Smith said. John Milton Sailer’s name will not be printed on the ballot as he did not qualify with voter petitions or through payment of a qualifying fee. It is believed by political strategists that Sailer entered the race solely to close the Primary Election to Republican voters only — surmising that Sanchez’ past tax-and-spend policies might endear him to Democrat voters.