CRESTVIEW — Having a bigger campaign fund than opponents in this year’s municipal elections didn’t guarantee incumbents more votes.
If having more campaign money than challengers means certain reelection, Charles Baugh Jr.'s $8,354 should have trounced winner Mickey Rytman's $3,523.95. And Joe Blocker's $624.23 should have been no match to Benjamin Iannucci III's $2,041.28.
But when Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux announced the final results Tuesday evening, Rytman, who sat stunned by the announcement, had defeated Baugh with 762 votes to 536. Iannucci fell to Blocker 494 to 424.
"Anything's possible when you deal with voting," Iannucci said.
Incumbent City Clerk Betsy Roy — out-funded $3,994.48 to $3,384.55 by her opponent — faced a tough battle against real estate agent Wanda Davis. Roy trailed Davis 446 to 414 when the results of early voting and absentee votes were coupled with results from four out of the city's seven precincts. Roy won, 581 to 557.
Baugh and Iannucci are relative newcomers to Crestview, while Blocker, Davis and Rytman are Crestview natives. Roy has lived in Crestview since 1995.
Also elected was Crestview native Shannon Hayes, who defeated transplant Bill Cox to assume the Precinct 2 seat being vacated by retiring Councilman Tim Grandberry. Hayes, who raised $2,570 to Cox's $1,120, is the son of the late council member Sam Hayes.
"I know Dad is smiling up there," Hayes said after the results were announced.
City Councilman Tom Gordon, a Crestview native, said that over the last two elections, he has seen a trend of voters turning incumbents out of office.
"Two years ago, the Crestview citizens sent a clear signal of 'out with the old and in with new,' Gordon said. "Looks like Tuesday night's results were an echo of two years ago."
Voter Theresa Lambert raised another possibility.
"I want to see the locals back in charge," she said. "Most of those people on the council aren't from here. They don't know this place like we do."
Whether voters focused more on defeating incumbents or putting lifelong residents into office is questionable, but one quantifiable fact concerned Gordon: only 10.5 percent of the electorate determined the election's outcome.
"It's hard to fathom how 90 percent can possibly be satisfied with 10 percent making the decision for them," Gordon said. "If you don't vote, don't fuss."
THE COSTS OF OFFICE
Crestview city clerk
Wanda Davis: $3,994.48/ $2,091.54
J.T. Kinsey: $1,450/ $1,446.08
Betsy Roy: $3,384.55/ $3,119.30
Crestview city council
Joe Blocker: $624.23/ $273.63
Landrum Edwards: $395.60/ $100
Benjamin Iannucci III: $2,041.28/ $1,306.45
Bill Cox: $1,120/ $1,002.94
Shannon Hayes: $2,570/ $2,320.14
Charles Baugh Jr.: $8,354/ $6,950.48
Mickey Rytman: $3,523.95/ $1,413.64
Laurel Hill mayor
Robby Adams: $325/ $308.68
Mike Blizzard: $692/ $395.08
Laurel Hill city council
Larry Hendren: $40/ $10
Johnny James: $33/ $10
Joan Smith: $20/ $10
*Includes monetary and in-kind contributions
** Laurel Hill city council members have voluntarily waived their salaries to allow the city to pay down its debt.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.