Incumbents ruled the local races in Tuesday’s election.
But maybe the larger story was the turnout, as 58 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, more than half during early voting.
That was four percentage points higher than the turnout for the last midterm elections in 2014 and reflected state and national trends.
And the turnout came despite the individual voting precincts being folded into voting centers on each end of the county.
“With the hurricane and everything, I thought we’d do good to meet 2014,” said Supervisor of Elections John Hanlon. “We ended up beating 2014 by four percentage points despite everything and I am pretty pleased about that.
“Our voters turned out.”
The local races involved three seats on the Board of County Commissioners, each race including an incumbent and two challengers.
The outcomes were decidedly varied.
In the case of Commissioners Sandy Quinn and David Rich, the results were easy victories.
Rich, in District 1, pulled in 74 percent, or 835 votes, while neither John Nagy nor William Lawson could reach the 150 vote mark; both pulling in 13 percent of the vote.
Rich was appointed to the seat a year ago this month by Gov. Rick Scott following the untimely passing of Commissioner Freddie Whitfield.
Rich earned another two years on the job as the seat returns to its traditional cycle in 2020.
“I worked hard,” Rich said. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of Gulf County the past year.
“I will do my best in the next two years to recover and rebuild Gulf County.”
In District 4, Quinn easily won over Amy Rogers and Ronald Pickett, winning 69 percent of the voter, or 563 votes.
Pickett drew 22 percent and Rogers 9 percent of the vote.
Quinn was also the only one of the three sitting commissioners forced to win a primary to reach the general election.
“I’m glad, grateful, thankful,” Quinn said. “I appreciate the people giving me another four years.
“We will get back. One day at a time. But we will be back.”
In District 2, in contrast, all three candidates garnered at least 30 percent of the vote, with Commissioner Ward McDaniel taking eight of the remaining 10 percent to secure another four-year term.
McDaniel earned 371 votes to 300 for Tom Semmes and 297 for Josh Taunton.
“I am proud of the turnout,” McDaniel said. “With everything we’ve been through, for the voters to come out and vote was outstanding.
“I think they voted a little bit for experience. We have a tough four years ahead. It was a good clean race and I congratulate Mr. Semmes and Mr. Taunton for that.”
As to state races, county voters leaned heavily Republican, which also happened to be consistently the winning side.
County voters overwhelmingly supported Rick Scott over Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate and Ron DeSantis over Andrew Gillum for governor.
Ashley Moody (Attorney General), Jimmy Patronis (Chief Financial Officer) and Matt Caldwell (Commissioner of Agriculture) all easily won county voters.
In each of the state races, the top voter getter in the county received well over 4,000 votes in an election where 5,900 and change voted.
Likewise Neal Dunn easily took the county for Congressional District 2 with well over 4,000 votes.
County voters also uniformly favored the retention of the appellate judges up for consideration and uniformly supported, frequently by 2-to-1 margins, the amendments to the Florida Constitution put before voters.