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Primary election draws mediocre voter turnout

By Staff | Aug 25, 2010

Less then 24 percent of all 342,778 registered voters in Lee County turned out for Tuesday’s primary election, with Republican voters dominating the polls.

A total of 36.66 percent of all registered Republicans cast their ballots, compared to the 17.87 percent of registered Democrats and 6.35 percent of registered non-partisan voters.

The closest local Republican race was for the District 1 County Commission seat, which was left vacant after the passing of long-time Commissioner Bob Janes earlier this year.

Bob Chilmonik and John Manning went down to the wire, with Manning winning the Republican nomination with 36.20 percent, or 18,263, of the total votes. Chilmonik was close, with 34.61 percent, or 17,457 of the total votes. Manning will now face Carla Johnston in the November general election.

The Republican race for the District 2 county commission seat was not nearly as close, with incumbent Brian Bigelow dominating all the competition with 42.86, or 21,483 of the total votes. His closest competitor was Cecil Pendergrass, who garnered 26.99 percent, or 13,530 of the total votes. Bigelow will now face Debi Jordan in the November general election.

In the non-partisan races, Frank Mann Jr. captured the most votes for the Group 3 County Court Judge seat, winning 47.59 percent, or 33,890, of the total votes. In the general election, he will face the runner-up in Tuesday evening’s competition, Miguel C. Fernandez III, who claimed 24.16 percent of the vote, or 17,212.

In the group 4 County Court Judge race, former Cape Coral Mayor Eric Feichthaler garnered 49.83 percent, or 34,250 of the total votes. While incumbent Archie Hayward garnered 50.17 percent, or 34,477, of the total votes. The closest race in the county by far, it’s possible, but unknown, that a recount will take place.

Tom Scott unseated long-time incumbent Elinor Scricca for the District 5 Lee County School board seat with 57.56 percent, or 38,376 of the total votes. Scricca received 42.44 percent or 28,298 votes.

Don Armstrong also unseated a long-time incumbent, as eight-year board member Steven Teuber. Armstrong garnered 52.03 percent, or 33,512 of the total votes in the District 4 race. Teuber received 47.97 of the votes cast, or 30,896.

Armstrong said he was "flabbergasted" by the win, and thanked Lee County voters for having confidence in him.

"I told Teuber in April I would have his seat," said Armstrong.

The District 1 Lee County School Board seat was a little closer, with two candidates — Arnold Gibbs and Mary Fischer — headed for a runoff in November’s general election because no one garnered a majority of the vote.

In non-partisan races, candidates must garner over 50 percent of the vote to win.

Former Cape Police Chief Arnold Gibbs will face Mary Fischer in the general election, as Gibbs garnered 41.34 percent, or 27,586 of the total votes, while Fischer garnered 38.50 percent, or 25,691 of the total votes.

Gibbs and Fischer both beat John Traube, who garnered 20.15 percent, or 13,446 of the total votes.

All results are unofficial until certified.

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington did not return multiple calls seeking comment Tuesday night.