Hendry and Glades County elections hotly contested

LABELLE — In the elections Tuesday, one Hendry County Board of Commissioners seat was contested, and two candidates squared off for the property appraiser’s office.

Two seats were filled on the Glades County Board of Commissioners. At the east end of Hendry, there were seven candidates for Clewiston City Commission, including the three members whose terms end this year. One challenger collected more votes than even the mayor of Clewiston, and longtime Commissioner Phillip Roland apparently has lost his bid for re-election.

Voter turnout in Hendry County, with not all Election Day votes accounted for, was just over 50 percent. In Glades, it was 57 percent.

The following numbers are according to unofficial results from the two counties’ supervisor of elections offices, as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7. County elections officials still must canvass the ballots to make sure all votes have been counted, including write-in votes and any provisional ballots that were cast.

According to unofficial results from the counties’ supervisor of elections offices:

Hendry County
In Hendry, all vote-by-mail ballots and early votes had been accounted for 10 of 10 precincts; however, the elections supervisor’s website still stated at 10 a.m. Nov. 7 that Election Day votes had only been partially reported. An elections office spokeswoman said that was because write-in votes and provisional ballots are not all counted, and still were to be canvassed sometime that day.

Incumbent Republican County Commissioner Darrell R. Harris faced challenger Kenneth C. Diaz (no party affiliation). Mr. Harris apparently retained his seat with 1,152 votes, 67 percent, vs. Mr. Diaz’s 568 (33 percent).

For property appraiser, Dena R. Pittman, the incumbent Republican, won 5,248 votes, or 60 percent, vs. Democrat Tony Aguilar’s 3,498, or 40 percent.

The total of early voters was 3,728. Countywide, a total of 17,832 voters were registered to participate Nov. 6: 7,828 Democrats, 6,538 Republicans, and 3,466 of no party affiliation.

Glades County
With 13 of 13 precincts reporting and all ballots accounted for, incumbent John Ahern, facing challenger Jerri Lynn Schlueter for the Glades County Board seat of District 4, took 2,628 votes, or 69 percent, to Ms. Schlueter’s 1,164 (31 percent.)

Jeff Barnes ran against Donna Storter Long for her District 2 seat, which she retained by taking 2,348 votes, or 63 percent, to Mr. Barnes’ 1,376 (37 percent.)

City of Clewiston
Incumbent City Commissioners M. “Mali” Soto Gardner, Kristine Petersen and Phillip Roland were opposed by challengers Kevin McCarthy, Melanie McGahee, James L. (Jimmy) Pittman and Lance “Bubba” Ramer.

With both city precincts reporting — but countywide vote totals still not finalized — the vote totals as reported around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday night were:
1. Melanie McGahee, 922 (20.8 percent)
2. Commissioner Kristine Petersen, 759 (17.1 percent)
3. Mayor Mali Gardner, 720 (16.2 percent)
4. Jimmy Pittman, 617 (13.9 percent)
5. Kevin McCarthy, 518 (11.7 percent)
6. Commissioner Phillip Roland, 474 (10.7 percent)
7. Lance Ramer, 422 (9.6 percent)

The top three finishing candidates win commission seats; the one finishing third gets a two-year term and the leaders, four years each.

Chris Felker can be reached at cfelker@newszap.com

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