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Friday, December 04, 2020
Picture of Kat Cammack at a Trump rally in Ocala

Kat Cammack, winner of the Congressional District 3 race in the 2020 election, is seen giving an opening speech at President Donald Trump's campaign rally last month. The event was held at the Ocala International Airport in Florida on Oct. 16, 2020. 

 

Biden takes Alachua County in presidential race, national results pending

As of Thursday at 2 p.m., Biden sits at 264 Electoral College votes, according to The Associated Press. The AP called both Michigan and Wisconsin for Biden late Wednesday afternoon after a surge of mail ballots swung the states in his favor. 

States that have not been called by the AP are Alaska, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada. 

Nevada, where Biden leads by about 11,000 votes, is still counting ballots as of Thursday. If Biden were to win Nevada, he would secure 270 Electoral College votes and win the presidency.

Trump leads Pennsylvania by about 111,000 votes, as of Thursday at 2 p.m. Pennsylvania is still counting mail ballots as of Thursday, said the state’s secretary of state Kathy Boockvar. The president’s lead in the state has shrunk significantly as more mail ballots are counted. 

The Trump campaign has claimed victory in Pennsylvania, despite the state still counting ballots and no outlets projecting a winner. The Biden campaign said they are confident they will win the state. News outlets have not called the state yet. 

Georgia, where Trump initially held a large lead, is still too close to call as of 2 p.m. Thursday. Mail ballots are still being counted in the counties around Atlanta, and Trump leads the state by just 13,220 votes, according to the AP. Georgia and its 16 electoral college votes are crucial for Trump to win. If Biden were to flip Georgia, he would be projected to win the presidency.

Early Wednesday morning Trump falsely declared victory. Midwestern states and Georgia are still counting mail ballots and those races have not been called. Neither candidate has reached the 270 electoral votes needed to win, according to The Associated Press.

Former Vice President Joe Biden won Alachua County by more than 38,000 votes, about 27%, according to preliminary results from the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections. 

Donald Trump won Florida by 3.5%, about 377,000 votes, according to The Associated Press. Florida, with 29 electoral votes, has gone to the winner of every presidential election since 1996 when former President Bill Clinton defeated Republican Bob Dole.

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Biden, 77, served as former President Barack Obama’s vice president from 2008 to 2016.

Sen. Kamala Harris, Democratic vice presidential nominee, ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but dropped out of the race in December. The Biden campaign selected her to be vice president on Aug. 11.

Lauren Andersen, a 22-year-old UF political science and philosophy senior, voted for Biden at the Reitz Union. She said a Biden presidency would be a win for young people across the country. If Trump were to secure 270 electoral votes and win re-election, Andersen said she’d be concerned for the future.

“It's probably gonna make me want to look into law schools in another country, honestly,” she said.

 

Florida Congressional District 3 race

Winner: Kat Cammack, Republican

Republican Kat Cammack won the Congressional District 3 race, defeating Democratic opponent Adam Christensen. 

“Tonight is historic,” Cammack said at her watch party Tuesday night. “This is not about Republicans and Democrats, it is about us as Americans and the future we want.”

Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, which is located in Northern Florida, includes the counties of Clay, Bradford, Union, Alachua, Putnam and part of Marion County.

Cammack, 32, is replacing Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, who she worked for as deputy chief of staff from 2011 to 2019. Cammack will serve for two years until she is up for re-election. 

She was endorsed by President Donald Trump and spoke at his Oct. 17 Ocala rally, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Ocala Sen. Dennis Baxely and others. Cammack received $873,191.83 in contributions and took out $45,000 in loans to fund her campaign. The campaign’s total spending was $840,275.08.

Cammack, who defeated Judson Sapp, Gavin Rollins, James St. George, and six others in the Republican primary on Aug. 19, will be the youngest Republican woman in Congress.

Cammack is a small business owner, and her and her husband founded “The Grit Foundation” with a mission to support local law enforcement, first responders, and veterans. During her time in Yoho's office, she led efforts to secure four new VA clinics within the district.

Cammack had a Tuesday night result watch party in Green Cove Springs, Clay County, in the Clay Theatre.The theatre was filled with about 80 people, few of whom wore masks and many of whom wore Trump t-shirts and hats. 

With all precincts reported in Alachua County and mail in ballots partially reported, Adam Christensen, a Democrat, won in Alachua County by 24.2%, but lost in all other counties he would have represented. 

Christensen, 27, said he thinks he lost because he ran in a historically Republican district.

He said he is happy his team did everything they could to the best of their ability. His next steps are going to bed and sleeping well for the first time in a long time.

“We ran as close to a perfect race as you could run in this part of the area,” Christensen said. 

 

State Representative District 21 race

Winner: Chuck Clemons, Republican

Republican incumbent Chuck Clemons won his third term to the District 21 seat of the Florida House of Representatives Tuesday night. 

Clemons took home 48,626 votes, 2.2% more of the total vote than his Democrat opponent, Kayser Enneking. He will represent portions of Alachua, Gilchrist and Dixie Counties.

The 63-year-old UF graduate and Santa Fe Vice President of Advancement ran on a platform of protecting the environment, funding education and supporting agriculture.

Clemons spent election night with family members and supporters at Copper Monkey West, a restaurant in Jonesville. As the results came in, Clemons said his group’s eyes were glued to TVs in the restaurant, focusing on local and national races.

“I am thankful for being in the freest country in the world, where we determine leadership for our country, our state, our counties, our cities at the ballot box,” Clemons said.

He said he plans on representing the interests of all his district’s residents, regardless of who they voted for.

“I am going to work really hard, not only for the people that voted for me,” Clemons said. “I am going to work hard to gain support from those who cast their ballot for my opponent.”

After the race was called, Enneking delivered a speech on Facebook Live. The UF anesthesiology professor recounted her and her team’s achievements during the past four years, such as helping pass Amendment 4, which restored felons’ voting rights. 

During her second run for state office, Enneking received 56.37% of the 77,691 votes cast in Alachua County.

“We stayed on a high road, and we developed a road map for those who will come next, because this work is not done,” she said.

 

Alachua County Commission District 1 seat

Winner: Mary Alford, Democrat

Democratic candidate Mary Alford defeated Republican candidate Raemi Eagle-Glenn Tuesday night for the District 1 seat on the Alachua County Commission

She earned 62.79% of 136,335 votes to represent parts of Micanopy and Archer. The 59-year-old will assume the seat of former County Commissioner Mike Byerly, after beating him in the August Democratic primary. 

County Commission District 1, which makes up much of the southwest portion of Alachua County, includes Micanopy and parts of Archer and Gainesville. 

Alford will join County Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler and Anna Prizzia, who was elected to the District 3 seat Tuesday, to comprise a female-majority commission.

Alford spent the evening with three members of her campaign team at The Leaning Pig, located at 11 SE 1st Ave. As the results rolled in, she said she felt apprehension and excitement. 

As a newly elected commissioner, Alford said she plans to look over Alachua County policies to make them sustainable. 

“I want my children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews to know the Alachua County that I grew up in,” she said.

The Queen’s Arm Pub, located at 5323 SW 91 Terrace, erupted into cheers after Eagle-Glenn spoke to her supporters, despite her loss. About 30 unmasked attendees gathered at the pub around 7 p.m. and ate dinner. 

“I’m so honored and grateful for the 50,000 plus votes that I received,” she said to the crowd.

 

Alachua County Commission District 3 seat

Winner: Anna Prizzia, Democrat

Anna Prizzia, the Democratic candidate for the District 3 seat on the Alachua County Commission, defeated Republican candidate Joy Glanzer Tuesday night. 

“I’m grateful to the voters who chose me to be a leader for our community,” Prizzia, 43, said. “Racial justice and equity is really the issue I’m most excited about working on — we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”

She earned 60.37% of 136,487 votes to represent parts of Newberry and Gainesville. As part of the Alachua County Commission, she will assume the seat of former Chair Robert Hutchinson.

Prizzia will join County Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler and Mary Alford, who was elected to the District 1 seat Tuesday, to comprise a female-majority commission. 

About 40 supporters gathered outside Cypress and Grove Brewery, located at 1001 NW 4th St. Gainesville City Commissioner Gail Johnson was in attendance and said she’s looking forward to collaborating with Prizzia and the rest of the commission.

Prizzia received her master’s degree in wildlife ecology and conservation at UF and moved to Alachua County in 2000. Dressed in a casual grey sweater bracing the 50º weather, she said she hopes to address issues related to the basic needs of people, such as affordable housing, food insecurity and climate change.

At Glanzer Realty, located at 25527 W. Newberry Road, Glanzer, the 65-year-old Republican candidate from Newberry, anxiously watched the results come in.

Glanzer’s granddaughter constantly went up to her grandmother with a watch in hand, reminding her of the time as the precinct updates trickled in. 

“What we got to do is we have to speak our truth, and to give our message that our small municipalities need a voice,” Glanzer said. “And I don't think we're going away.”

 

Local amendments

Of 11 city and county amendments and referendums, all but one of the local amendments have passed so far. The County Growth Management Area amendment is heading for a machine recount if numbers stay where there are, which is 50.05% yes. 

The One Mill initiative was extended to 2025 and changes will be coming to the county in the form of tidying local government language and constitutionality, natural resource protection and a fund for housing, as well as changing for city pavement regulations and requiring citizen votes to sell city utilities.

This measure, supported by more than 78% of voters, will raise money for schools through local taxes at the rate of one mill, or $1 for every $1,000 of property taxes.It will help fund local schools in the areas of arts, magnets and technology. It cost the average Alachua County taxpayer less than $7 monthly, according to the school district’s website. 

This county amendment, supported by 50.05% of voters, will allow for areas of the county to be preserved for environmental protection. If the vote remains within 0.5%, a machine recount will occur, said TJ Pyche, director of communications and outreach for Vote Alachua. 

Cities in the county that want to expand into specific management areas will have to follow rules that protect the environment. 

This amendment, supported by slightly more than 70% of voters, will enable the county to protect specific natural resources, even in cities. 

This amendment, supported by almost 74% of voters, will allow the county commission to review existing and proposed policies for elements of racial and gender bias. 

This amendment, supported by more than 63% of voters, will help create a fund for affordable housing in the county.

This amendment, supported by slightly more than 64% of voters, from the Charter Review Commission will make it easier for specific financial reports to be submitted to the government. The explanation notes that treasury reports must currently be submitted both with electronic and paper copies.  

This amendment, supported by almost 70% of voters, will remove unconstitutional elements of the county charter. 

Gainesville Referenda 

This measure, supported by almost 80% of voters, will change the official title of the city clerk’s position. 

This amendment, supported by more than 63% of voters, will ease restrictions about what city funds can be spent on paving. It might allow the city to do things like pave natural areas for accessible pathways. 

This measure, supported by more than 74% of voters, will require voters’ permission to sell utility systems, such as electric services. It will prevent Gainesville Regional Utilities' natural gas, wastewater and telecommunication services from being sold with a majority citizen vote. 

This amendment, supported by more than 75% of voters, will add a preamble to the city constitution explaining its importance. 

Florida Constitutional amendments

Amendment 1: Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections: Passed

This measure passed, supported by 64.40% of Alachua County voters and 79.3% of statewide voters. It changes the wording on the Florida constitution from “every citizen of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in Florida” to“only a citizenof the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in Florida.” People who aren’t citizens of Florida already can’t vote in state elections.

Amendment 2: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage: Passed

Voters passed this amendment. Supported by 63.03% of Alachua County voters and 61.3% state voters, will raise the state minimum wage to $15 by 2026.

Amendment 3: All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor and Cabinet: Did not pass

This amendment didn’t pass. While almost split 50-50 among Alachua County voters, 43% of statewide voters supported the measure. It would have opened primaries in a top-two primary election system, meaning the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to the general election. 

Amendment 4: Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments: Did not pass

This amendment didn’t pass. In Alachua County, 62.59% of voters voted against the measure. Statewide, that number was 52.5%. It would have required any Florida ballot measure to pass a second time before being added to the Florida constitution. 

Amendment 5: Limitation on Homestead Assessments: Passed

This measure, supported by 70.57% of Alachua County voters and 74.5% statewide voters, will extend the deadline for how a homeowner’s house value is assessed for tax purposes. A homestead exemption allows homeowners to cap the value of their home’s value, so they are charged less property taxes. This amendment will extend the value of the tax break from two years  to three, even if someone moved. 

Amendment 6: Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities: Passed 

This amendment, supported by 83.68% of Alachua County voters and 89.7% statewide voters, will extend the homestead exemption for veterans older than 65 to their spouses in the event of their death. It will allow veteran spouses to receive benefits in the form of a property tax break as long as they live on the property and remain unmarried. 

  • Florida Congressional District 3 race: Kat Cammack, Republican
  • State Representative District 21 race: Chuck Clemons, Republican
  • Alachua County Commission District 1 seat: Mary Alford, Democrat
  • Alachua County Commission District 3 seat: Anna Prizzia, Democrat
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