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New St. Johns commissioner decided with withdrawal of write-in

Posted: August 28, 2014 - 8:00pm

Two days after the primary, Jeb Smith is officially the newest St. Johns County commissioner.

After winning Tuesday’s primary with more than 43 percent of the votes cast in the race, Smith was set to face write-in-candidate John Milton Sailer in the general election.

St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes announced Thursday that she received letters of withdrawal from the write-in candidates for both St. Johns County Commission races.

Because of that, and because Smith was then unopposed in the race, he is considered elected to the St. Johns County District 2 County Commission seat.

“That’s a big relief,” Smith said. “We were planning on going to November.”

Smith defeated Kim Kendall and Ron Sanchez in the primary. Sanchez had served on the County Commission for eight years.

The other County Commission race is for District 4, and incumbent board chairman Jay Morris won the primary against Dan Abel and Denver Cook.

Morris was set to face two candidates in the general election, but Frances Schoenberger withdrew.

Morris has to face Merrill Roland, a candidate without party affiliation, in the general election. Morris won the primary with more than 48 percent of the votes.

There are no active candidates from the Democrat Party.

Smith will be sworn into office in a special meeting in late November.

The board’s rules and policies call for a reorganization meeting on the third Tuesday of November each year. The meeting happens before the regular commission meeting, and newly elected commissioners are sworn in before the reorganization of the board.

District 2, which Smith will represent, takes up a large swath of the county, including most of its rural areas.

Smith runs a family farm in Hastings and his own separate business, and he is married with four children. He has served on the St. Johns County Agricultural Advisory Board, and served as president of the Putnam-St. Johns County Farm Bureau.

Preserving the county’s water supply and encouraging business growth are a couple of his focuses.

Smith said he plans to begin meeting with county staff in preparation for his time on the commission.

“Really, I’ve got a learning curve ... ” he said. “It’s time to go to school on how to be a commissioner, how to be an effective commissioner.”

 
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