Millender, Allen top Carrabelle field

In her first bid for public office, Anita Grove avoided a run-off in a three-person race for city commission Seat #3 in Apalachicola, swamping her two opponents.

In the race for Seat #4, incumbent Brenda Ash easily won re-election.

In Carrabelle, A.C. “Tony” Millender was the top votegetter, winning a seat by capturing 184 of the 525 votes cast in the four-person race, with the top two capturing the seats.

With 125 votes, incumbent Cal Allen, who has served for six years, won re-election to the city commission, as he edged out third-place finisher, incumbent Olivia Massey, with 116 votes, and newcomer Bert Worthy with 100.

“I feel good,” said Millender, who had been up since 5:30 a.m. and at the polls before 7 a.m. greeting people as they arrived.

“I feel very appreciative of the support that the voters have bestowed today on me,” said Millender, who retired as wildland firefighter supervisor from the Florida Forest Service after 30 years. “I also appreciate their input and information and I hope they will continued to provide me with information on how they feel about the city during my four-year term.”

Allen, whose disability placed a limit on the sort of active door-to-door campaigning that Millender and many other candidates displayed, said he was excited with his win.

“I’m going to go in and try to do the best job I can for the city and citizens of Carrabelle,” he said. “I felt like I need to do some unfinished business and give some reasonable voice for issues that need to be discussed reasonably and not emotionally.”

Allen said he continues to back fiscal restraint, and wants the city to pursue other options for City Hall, such as placing it on the site of the old water plant or inside the former Gulf State Community Bank building, than building a new one on the eastern edge of town.

“We’re at the top of our ad valorem and we’re running things pretty tight and people are wanting to spend money and we don’t have it,” he said.

Millender said he is keeping an open mind on the subject of where to house city offices.

“I’m open to the most feasible, logical, realistic and working solution for Carrabelle,” he said. “I’m not locked in to anything at this point.”

In Apalachicola, Grove took 60 percent, or 450, of the total ballots cast for Seat #3, while challenger Charles Kienzle received 150 votes, or 21 percent, and R. Brent Mabrey, Jr. received 143 votes, or 19 percent.

In the race for Seat #4, Ash tallied 536 votes, or 72 percent, to 208 votes, or 28 percent, cast for her challenger, Carol Barfield.

“We worked hard and I’m surprised and excited,” said Grove, former director of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce and now a staffer at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. “I wanted to avoid the runoff. I’m proud to serve; thanks to everyone very much.”

Ash, a former banker who now works as operations administrator for the St. George Island Plantation, said she was appreciative for the victory.

“I’m just grateful that the citizens think highly of me enough to put me back and put me back in such a manner that is so overwhelming,” she said. “I’m humbled by the support. I’m humbled by the confidence that the people have shown. I’ll strive to do the best I can do with the resources I’ve been given.”

Results of the non-partisan elections, which were administered by the cities with assistance from Supervisor of Elections Heather Riley’s office, once again showed that people favor the early voting and vote by mail options. Before the sun dawned on Election Day, almost half of the voters had already cast ballots.