Its Official: Waldron wins by 7 votes

PAUL WALDRON

PAUL WALDRON

If you ever doubted the importance of every vote, ask Paul Waldron — the St Johns County Commissioner-elect from District 3. From over 24,000 ballots cast in the closed Republican Primary Election Tuesday, Waldron defeats former Assistant County Administrator Jerry Cameron by a margin of only 7 votes.

Tuesday evening, Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes called Historic City News editor, Michael Gold, and WSOS-FM 103.9 station owner, Kevin Geddings, during their live Election Night coverage to report that the machine tabulation was so close that a recount would be required by state law.

“The recount began Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at the Elections Office and concluded just after 8:00 p.m.,” Oakes told Gold tonight as she was finally leaving the office. “We went into the recount separated by nine votes; and the bottom line is, when we had finished, Waldron won by seven votes.”

The certified totals for the race are, of 24,931 ballots cast, Paul Waldron – 12,469, Jerry Cameron – 12,462.

We spoke with Waldron at his home after the recount and he was excited to receive the news.

“I really want to thank everyone who trusted me with their vote,” Waldron said. “I’m looking forward to winning in November and getting to work for all the residents of St Johns County”.

Waldron faces a strawman write-in candidate who entered the race solely to close the Primary Election, limiting voting between the two very different candidates to Republican voters only. The General Election in November is open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation, however the name of the write-in candidate, Sheamus John McNeeley, does not appear printed on the ballot — instead, Waldron will face a blank line.

Another interesting observation in this race that is significant. Waldron is a native-born St Augustinian. He grew up, went to school, raised his family, and is a businessman here in St Johns County. His father, Harry Waldron, is a former Chairman of the St Johns County Board of Commissioners.

The Waldron campaign was grassroots. Paul raised $65,719.00 in campaign contributions for the position that pays $70,338.00 each year, plus benefits. He counted among his donors, friends, family and mostly local contributions less than the maximum allowed by law.

Cameron, on the other hand, chose to go the route of the high-priced, out-of-town political consultant; selecting the Tallahassee firm that two years ago managed Jay Morris’s re-election campaign. Cameron ran with the big-money land developer’s backing that has become too common in local elections. He raised $159,575.00, including a stack of $1,000 checks from contributors, some of whom listed “housewife” and “retired” as their means of employment.

District 3 was an “open seat” as the incumbent, Bill McClure, resigned to run an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Congressman. Waldron will be sworn in during January and his first term will be for four-years.

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