If 2016 is remembered for anything, it will be as a huge election year, trust us.
With a record turnout at the polls Nov. 8, and the second best among the state’s 67 counties, Franklin County swept into office three new constitutional officers, more than the usual changeover, thanks to two high-profile retirements.
Following the retirement of Mike Mock, Republican A.J. Smith was chosen to become Franklin County's sheriff in the closest of the three elections, as he edged Democrat Brad Segree 52 to 43 percent in a four-man race.
Succeeding the retiring Nina Marks, Democrat Traci Moses became Florida’s second youngest superintendent of schools, as she edged Republican Frank Stephens 49 to 37 percent in a three-person race.
Heather Crum Riley, running without party affiliation, swamped incumbent Republican Pinki Jackel by a margin of 62 to 38 percent. Jackel had been appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to succeed the late Ida Cooper Elliott, who passed away in 2015.
While the county voted overwhelmingly in favor of Republican Donald Trump for president over Democrat Hillary Trump, the preferences of Republican Governor Scott met with far less support.
The second of Scott’s appointees, District 1 county commissioner Rick Watson, who Scott picked to succeed Jackel, was bested by Ricky Jones 57 to 42 percent.
More than 84 percent of the county’s 7,256 registered voters cast ballots, with more than half of these, close to 53 percent of the total voters, casting their ballots before the sun ever rose on Election Day.
Incumbent three-term Democrat Marcia M. Johnson won her clerk of courts race easily, receiving more than 66 percent of the vote, to swamp Althea “Penny” Sutton, who ran without party affiliation.
In District 3, incumbent Democrat county commissioner Noah Lockley amassed better than 76 percent of the vote to easily down Jimmy Lashley, who ran without party affiliation.