Jackel, Massey win handily County backs Romney, divided on Nelson

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Reviewing provisional ballots on Tuesday night are, from left, Van Russell, Doris Pendleton, Ida Elliott, Cheryl Sanders, Heather Riley and Carrie Johnson.

Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM.

In a county where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly three-to-one, voters made it known Tuesday that they lean sharply to the red state side of the ballot box.

In addition to giving Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney 65 percent of the vote (one percentage point better than John McCain did four years ago), Franklin County voters split nearly exactly evenly between incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, the eventual victor, and his Republican challenger Connie Mack, with both getting 48.7 percent of the vote. Just one vote separated their total among Franklin County voters, with Nelson taking 2,616 and Mack 2,615.

In Congressional District 2, incumbent Republican Steve Southerland (Panama City) won nearly 59 percent support among county voters, more than five percentage points than he did overall, as he fended off a stiff challenge from Democrat Al Lawson (Tallahassee).

In the race for County Commission District 1, which encompasses Eastpoint and St. George Island, incumbent Pinki Jackel, 54, who four years ago became the first Republican in modern times to win a county commission seat, easily outdistanced her Democratic challenger Tony Shiver, 52, to secure a second term.

In District 5, which includes portions of Eastpoint east into Carrabelle, Democrat William Massey, 53, swamped by a better than three-to-one margin his opponent, Hank Garrett, 48, who ran without party affiliation.

In the contest to fill the Florida House District 7 seat, vacated by Democrat Leonard Bembry, Tallahassee nurseryman Halsey Beshears, the Republican candidate, won the same percentage of county voters, about 60 percent, as he did throughout the sprawling district to top Liberty County Clerk of Court Robert Hill, the Democrat.

In Florida Senate District 3, incumbent Democrat Bill Montford secured 60 percent of support among county voters, about 12 percentage points lower than his overall total, as he was victorious over Republican John Shaw.

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