ST. LUCIE COUNTY— Two new faces, both political newcomers, will join the County Commission, one taking over the reins of retiring Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson while the other upset Democrat incumbent Sean Mitchell, who was seeking a second term.
Republicans Jamie Fowler and Larry Leet on Tuesday won the the District 4 and 2 races, respectively.
Fowler, community outreach manager for Tri-County Enterprise, got 58% of the vote in her race, defeating Helen Lurry, who received 42% of vote, according to final, unofficial results from the Supervisor of Elections Office.
Leet, CEO of Able American Jets, captured 56% of votes, defeating Mitchell, who received 44% of votes, according to the supervisor of elections.
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Wins by Fowler and Leet means the majority of the five-member St. Lucie County Commission is now Republican.
“We knew the red wave was coming quite frankly,” Leet told TCPalm Tuesday evening. “I was surprised by the margin of difference,…but quite frankly I was expecting to pull it off.”
Fowler, too, attributed her win partially to a red wave.
Constant door-knocking, however, especially at local businesses, was an even bigger factor for her victory though, she said.
“I am so ready and excited to get to work,” Fowler said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves. That being said, I have some huge shoes to fill.”
Fowler, 40, wants to champion water quality and beach erosion issues just as her predecessor Hutchinson did, she said.
Making commissioners’ voting history here more transparent and accessible by having an online report card, similar to what state leaders have, is at the top of Fowler’s to-do list.
Adopting term limits for elected officials, encouraging septic-to-sewer conversions and lowering the county’s tax rate are other actions she would like to accomplish while in office.
One particular way to decrease taxes is to look at “extra fat to cut” from county’s new $706 million budget, such as consulting fees, Fowler said.
Leet, 64, calls himself as a constitutional conservative and believes government should be limited.
Similar to Fowler, lowering property taxes one of Leet’s top priorities while in office, he said.
Curbing public officials’ raises is one way to achieve that, according to Leet.
The Illinois native also believes growth here needs to be better managed, citing fears about St. Lucie County becoming a “concrete jungle like our southern neighbors,” spanccording to his cspanmpspanign website.
He would prioritize development west near Florida’s Turnpike and Interstate 95.
Leet raised nearly $4,000, according to campaign finance records. Mitchell, a former union business manager, received more than $119,000 in contributions.
Leet contributed about 26% of of his donations, according to the Supervisor of Elections Office. By comparison, more than 30% of Mitchell’s financial support came from unions.
Fowler raised about $74,000, according to campaign finance records.
The Friends of Dana Trabulsy political action committee; 19th Circuit Court Public Defender Diamond Litty; and Port St. Lucie City Councilman Anthony Bonna were among her donors.
Fowler and Leet will be sworn in Nov. 22. They will serve four-year terms, earning $86,517 annually.