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Janes, Judah and Mann grab commission races

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

The general election held few surprises for the county commission race, as incumbents staved off any threats with commanding wins for each of the three district seats.

Bob Janes, Ray Judah, and Frank Mann all won with more than 60 percent of the vote for their particular districts, holding the course for predominantly Republican Lee County.

District 3 belonged to commission chair Ray Judah, who garnered 68.12 percent of the vote with all but one precinct reporting.

Challenger Les Cochran, running with no party affiliation, earned 31.88 percent of the vote, hardly challenging long-time commissioner Judah.

With all but one precinct reporting, Judah culled 153,027 votes. Cochran received 71,621.

“I’m so greatful. I’m deeply humbled,” Judah said. “This has been a tough election with the economic conditions and the uncertainty, and people have the faith and confidence in me to provide the same leadership that I have over the last 20 years.”

Though the margin of victory was by no means close, Bob Janes’s opponents A.J. Boyd and Carla Johnston together garnered about 40 percent of the vote. With all but one precinct reporting, Janes received 132,513 votes, Boyd, 43,715 votes and Johnston, 43,325.

Former Cape Coral city councilmember Boyd was obviously disappointed with the outcome but proud he ran a “clean” campaign, something he promised Janes at the beginning of the run in District 1.

He also felt if he ran his campaign along his Republican Party lines, things might have turned out differently.

“If I had been able to put my Republican Party on there, I think it would have been a lot different outcome,” he said. “I see the election was mostly incumbents and Republican driven.”

Current Sanibel city councilmember Carla Johnston will have to resign her position because of her decision to run.

Like Boyd, the outcome was less than gratifying, but she found pleasure in focusing on the county’s issues, especially “jump starting” a stagnant economy.

“At the end of the day we wanted to get the attention of the community leaders, business leaders, and political leaders, to pay more attention to jump starting this economy and to putting Lee County on the map as a place where there’s lot of new opportunities,” she said.

Janes’ 60.36 percent victory means the long-time commissioner will continue as District 1 leader for at least another four years, but hinted during the primary that he might ride off into the sunset after this term.

Like Janes, Frank Mann faced two opponents with no party affiliation for the District 5 seat.

Both Steve (Sonny) Haas and Dick Kuhn proved to be little to no challenge for Mann, who earned 68.8 percent of the vote.

Of the two challengers, Haas packed more of a punch, earning 22 percent of the vote compared to the Kuhn’s 9.18 percent.

With all but one of the precincts reporting, Mann earned 149,850 votes; Haas, 47,997 votes; and Kuhn 20,000 votes.

Mann was celebrating at the Barbara B. Mann theater with friends and supporters on Tuesday night as the results poured in.

He mentioned that he was “more than pleased” with the results, especially considering his long career as a public servant.

“This is my 16th election over the last 40 years, and by far the highest percentage I’ve ever received,” Mann said. “It’s very meaningful and gratifying. It tells me that, essentially, the direction I’ve taken is a direction the voters of Lee County agree with.”

Bob Janes could not be reached for comment at press time.