St Johns County Supervisor of Elections announced to Historic City News this morning that the Canvassing Board accepted a request made by current District 4 County Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker that the ballots cast in his race need not be recounted. In a letter from Blocker last night, he accepted that his re-election campaign had “come up short”.
Following the final canvass of the vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots cast in the August 23, 2022, Primary Election, 175 votes separated Blocker and Keating-Joseph, representing a .46% difference. State law provides an automatic machine recount any time the difference is less than .50%, so the Elections Office was prepared to begin the recount this morning at 9:30 a.m. According to Oakes, her staff and the Canvassing Board were prepared to work until midnight tonight to complete the task.
“It has been my honor to serve the citizens of St Johns County as the Commissioner from District 4 over the last 4 years. With all the ballots now officially accounted for, it appears my campaign has come up short,” Blocker wrote in his letter to Oakes, received late in the afternoon on August 26, 2022. “Therefore, I am not seeking a recount in my race for St. Johns County Commission District 4. I appreciate the hard work of the elections staff during this cycle.”
Respecting the request and rights of candidate Blocker, the Canvassing Board subsequently rescinded the recount order for the County Commission District 4 race.
“Due to this action, the St Johns County 2022 Primary Election is now complete,” Oakes told Historic City News editor Michael Gold by phone. “All results are final and have been certified to the Division of Elections.”
A last-minute “spoiler” presented themselves as a write-in candidate, closing the voting to all but registered Republican voters in this race. Although nowhere in our archives can we find a record of a write-in candidate ever being elected to a countywide political office in St Johns County, the win for Keating-Joseph will not be officially complete until she faces “a blank line” on the ballot of all voters in the General Election on November 8, 2022.
Blocker reportedly raised $292,118.00 in campaign contributions. He and his out-of-town special interests learned a powerful lesson when Blocker was ultimately defeated by a political newcomer who had only raised $26,160. Money alone cannot always buy elected officials a seat on strategic governing boards.