Ormond Beach made their voices heard on Nov. 3.
Residents re-elected all Ormond Beach City Commission incumbents. At the Volusia County Council level, voters re-elected Councilwoman Heather Post with almost 60% of the vote, and like the August primaries, challenger Jeff Brower earned the most votes, leading him to a victory in the race for chair.
On his Facebook page, Brower thanked county citizens for the positive response to his campaign.
"You will now have real representation and a voice that will speak up for you," Brower said. "You really did take back your power and we are already going to work to protect your quality of life."
Brower ran against Deb Denys, who resigned her County Council District 3 seat to run for chair. She earned 42.8% of the vote, and shortly after results came in, appears to have deleted the Facebook page for her campaign.
Post, who won with 58.5% of the vote said she is glad to be serving a second term on the council, and that she looks forward to having discussions on responsible development and about changing council priorities to best serve the residents. Her opponent, Barbara Bonarrigo, earned 41.6% of the vote.
On her Facebook page, Bonarrigo said her "heart is filled with gratitude and love."
"It's not about winning or losing; it's about the life experience and the life-long friendships I made over the last year and a half," she said. "I will never forget this experience and will take it with me until the end."
Post said her campaign worked hard until the end and that they are happy with the results.
"I’m actually very excited about the potential for Volusia County moving forward," Post said. "I’m very much looking forward to continuing the good work.”
Ormond Beach incumbent Mayor Bill Partington won his race with 53.8% of the vote. His opponent Rob Bridger, who ran against him in the 2018 election, earned 46.2% of the vote.
Partington said he was excited and honored to be re-elected. He thanked Bridger for running a fair campaign.
"We have our clear differences, but it was never acrimonious between us and we both I think were able to share our visions for the city and didn’t attack each other personally," Partington said. "I was proud of the way the campaign went.”
Moving forward, Partington said one of the biggest issues facing Ormond Beach is neighboring growth putting pressure on the city's infrastructure, citing Avalon Park Daytona and the apartments in the LPGA area as examples. He said making sure the city has adequate infrastructure in place and that a "slow and planned" growth ratte is maintained will be one of his priorities in the next term.
While Bridger said he was disappointed in the results, he said running for mayor was "never about him." It was about preserving the quality of life in Ormond Beach and advocating for responsible development. He congratulated the incumbents and said he hopes the dialogue continues in regard to these issues.
“It’s not just a handful of angry people," Bridger said. "There are voters that want the city to move in a new direction and to hear input from their voices. I would be hopeful that the mayor and the commissioners would be responsive and not dismissive of citizen’s input.”
For Zone 1, incumbent Dwight Selby won a third term with 54.1% of the vote. Ormond Beach resident Tim Grigsby ran against Selby, earning 45.9% of the vote.
The campaign experience was great, Grigsby said. He congratulated Selby on his re-election and said it was an honor to run for city commissioner. He thanked his supporters, family and friends, and said that he made lifetime friends while running.
"Even though we were not able to overcome name recognition and special interest I feel that we made a difference and exposed how big money developers and outside forces drive policy in our city for the benefit of corporate profit and not in the interest of our citizens," Grigsby said. "As we move forward, I hope I can continue to make a difference and I will continue to defend our environment, fight overdevelopment, work to protect our quality of life and expose injustices when I see them."
Incumbent City Commissioner Troy Kent earned 57.6% of the vote, meaning he will serve a ninth term on the commission to represent Zone 2. Kent's opponent, local business owner Ken Smith, earned 42.4% of the vote.
Kent said he was feeling grateful to the residents of Zone 2 for their support, and thanked his family and friends for their help during his campaign. He called Smith a "class act" and said the campaign, while different this year due to COVID-19, was positive. At the end of this term in two years, Kent will have served for 19 years on the commission, and said he hopes to keep the city fiscally responsible.
“I’m very proud of the fact I’ve been one of the leaders who’ve been in charge of the financial reigns of Ormond Beach for quite some time, and our financial house is extremely strong right now," Kent said.
His next priority for this term will be to bring an emergency room to the beachside, an issue that has plagued the area since AdventHealth shuttered its hospital in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.
Commissioner Rob Littleton was re-elected to represent Zone 4 for a third term with 58.3% of the vote. Littleton's opponent, David Romeo, earned 41.7% of the vote.
Littleton said he was "deeply honored" to be granted another term, and said his main priority going forward will be tackling the effects of COVID-19 on the city's revenues and expenditures, and that, with his experience in finances, the commission will be able to face that head-on.
“It makes me very happy that I won by a higher percentage and more votes than I did last time," Littleton said.