The unofficial (but pretty official) results are in – and all of the incumbents have been re-elected in local races across Okaloosa County.
Most of the races, for school board and county commissioner, had relatively clear winners. But there was still some nuance in the results.
A total of 41,199 ballots were cast in the election – some 30,000 of which were Republican.
Matt Gaetz won his primary for US House handily, earning a little over 68% of the Republican voters in his race in Okaloosa County. Challenger Mark Lombardo garnered about a third of that number.
In the State Senate Race for District 2, which includes Niceville and the rest of the Mid Bay Area, Jay Trumbull trounced Regina Piazza by a 3:1 margin. Trumbull received 73.29 percent of the vote to Piazza’s 26.71%.
But let’s get to what you really came for, the local races!
County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel will retain her seat on the Board of the Okaloosa County Commission. With a plurality of 48.03% of the almost 29,000 ballots cast, Ketchel defeated challengers Matt Turpin and CareySue Beasley. Turpin came in second place in the vote, with 36.08% and Beasley came in third with approximately 15.88% of voters casting their ballot for her.
“I’m very honored that the citizens of Okaloosa County brought me back to office,” Ketchel told Mid Bay News, “and I feel that was the endorsement that they feel that Okaloosa County is headed in the right direction. And they’re very happy with their county commission.”
Moving forward, Ketchel plans to continue her efforts to improve infrastructure while keeping taxes low, or even rolling them back to a lower level.
“I’m gonna stay the course and continue to work on infrastructure, keeping taxes low,” Ketchel added, “I’d still like to see a rollback of the taxes that we have, because property taxes have been high and we’ve been able to collect $11.5 million more than we had last year, in just property taxes alone. I’d like to continue to build the bypass, make sure that we have the roads in place that we need so that people can move about easily, and continue to work on the environmental issues and manage the growth in Okaloosa County. We’ve had a lot of exponential growth in the last number of years. And I’d like to see that continue to be continued, but managed, so that we have the proper roads so people can get in and out of their neighborhoods, get on 85 get on 123.”
Carolyn Ketchel – 48.03%
Matt Turpin – 36.09%
CareySue Beasley – 15.88%
Incumbent Lamar White beat back a tough challenger, who made few mistakes on the campaign trail, to win his election by a 5-point margin.
Dr. White will return to the school board for his third term in office. White has been chairmen of the school board three out of the eight years he’s been on the board. He will continue his tenure on the board as its longest-serving member. He’s served in his post since 2014.
Lamar White – 52.05%
Jerry Buckman – 47.95%
Linda Evanchyk will also serve another term on the Okaloosa County School Board. Evanchyk defeated challenger Darrell Barnhill by nearly 25 percentage points.
Linda Evanchyk – 61.58%
Darrell Barnhill – 38.42%
Dr. Diane Kelley defended her seat successfully against challenger Cara Marion. Kelley Received almost ⅔ of the vote against the challenger. Marion took the hardest loss of any candidate in the race with her loss.
Diane Kelley – 65.69%
Cara Marion – 34.31%
Remember, all of these results are unofficial until the state government approves them. That’ll take a couple of days.
There are still a very small number of ballots outstanding.
This is really unofficial because it doesn’t include provisional or uncured ballots.
About 88 ballots are outstanding.
“I don’t see any races that are close enough for a recount,” Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux. “We never call a recount this early in the process anyway.”
In the State of Florida, a race has to be less than .5 percent difference in order to be recounted.
CareySue Beasley 6,180
Carolyn Ketchel 18,692
Matt Turpin 14,044
Lamar White 20,050
Jerry Buckman 18,471
Darrell Barnhill 14,748
Linda Evanchyk 23,638
Cara Marion 13,123
Diane Kelley 25,129
Waiting on precincts two and three.
Lamar White 19,805
Jerry Buckman 18,260
Darrell Barnhill 14,529
Linda Evanchyk 23,392
Cara Marion 12,985
Diane Kelley 24,807
Darrell Barnhill 13,867
Linda Evanchyk 22,281
Cara Marion 12,397
Diane Kelley 23,655
36 precincts reporting
County Commissioner District 2:
CareySue Beasley: 5,379
Carolyn Ketchel: 16,385
Matt Turpin: 11,946
School Board 1:
Lamar White: 17,295
Jerry Buckman: 16,062
School Board 3:
Linda Evanchyk: 20,510
Darrell Barnhill: 12,716
School Board 5:
Diane Kelley 21,726
Cara Marion: 11,385
Good morning and happy Election Day to everyone in Okaloosa County, Niceville, Valparaiso, Bluewater Bay and Eglin Air Force Base!
We’ll be using this story as an updated blog to keep a running tab of the results of the elections, as well as other information about Election Day which will give you a more holistic idea as to what happened and why.
We will be keeping a close track on what happens here in Okaloosa County – especially on the school board and county commissioner races. We’ll provide results for other races as well. But we will focus our attention and resources where they will provide a unique view as to what is happening in our area.
To learn more about the individual candidates in County Commission and School Board elections, click the button below.
All told, as of 10:45AM this morning – a total of 5,200 Democrats and 17,943 Republicans, as well as 1,904 No Party Affiliation and 201 Other Party voters, had cast their ballots in the primary election – making for a 17.84% turnout on the day.
A total of 2,205 voters from the precincts which make up Niceville, Valparaiso, Eglin Air Force Base and Bluewater Bay cast their ballots by mail – making them about 20% of the total mail-in ballots for Okaloosa County. Another 2,843 voters went in person to vote early.
Initial results are not typically released until the polls close, which takes place at 7pm this evening. Those results are typically just the tallies of early and mail ballots.
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