Not to brag, but I have a pretty good record in predicting the outcome of local elections.
OK, I’m bragging.
All I know is, I have to do well with election predictions – otherwise, I’ll hear about it from readers.
Before we start, it’s important that you understand these are predictions and NOT endorsements. It’s the person I think will win.
The races are listed in order of interest.
• Property Appraiser: What a fascinating race. Wesley Davis passed on an almost certain re-election to the County Commission to run against incumbent David Nolte, who is seeking his 10th term. Not many people could beat Nolte, but Davis is arguably the most popular politician in the county. I’m just glad this race didn’t turn ugly … both stayed on the high road.
Winner: Wesley Davis.
• State Representative (District 54): It was good to see Erin Grall give elected office another try after a brutal 2010 race in which she was the target of over-the-top attack ads. She barely lost, which was a testimony to how highly her family is thought of in these parts. Sadly, Lange Sykes is using a mud-based strategy this year. Greg MacKay and Dale Glading did not have the campaign cash to mount serious challenges.
Winner: Erin Grall.
• County Commission (District 3): Tim Zorc, the incumbent, is facing three challengers (Joe Earman, Chuck Kirby and Mark Rodolico). Name recognition gives Zorc a big advantage in a four-way race. He would have a much tougher time beating Earman in a head-to-head matchup.
Winner: Tim Zorc.
• State Senator (District 17): What a nauseating race! Ritch Workman and Debbie Mayfield have spent a ridiculous amount of money on attack ads. (I loved the TV ad with Workman’s wife and ex-wife blasting Mayfield for her attack ads. Very effective.) Workman is better known in Brevard County, where most of the voters are.
Winner: Ritch Workman.
• School Board (District 5): The race between two first-time candidates, Tiffany Justice and John Kim, has been pretty much under the radar. Justice has run a solid campaign, strong from start to finish. It’s going to be tough for the 23-year-old Kim to overcome his age. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a bright future in local politics.
Winner: Tiffany Justice.
• County Commissioner (District 5): Incumbent Bob Solari is facing a challenge from Jay Kramer, a member of the Vero Beach City Council. Solari has been a major proponent of the City of Vero Beach selling its electric system to Florida Power & Light. Meanwhile, Kramer has been instrumental in blocking the sale. If Kramer was pro-sale, he might have had a chance.
Winner: Bob Solari.
• County Commissioner (District 1): This is the district seat occupied by Wesley Davis. There are two candidates with extensive experience on their respective city councils – Fellsmere’s Susan Adams and Sebastian’s Richard Gillmor. Susan’s mother, Fran Adams, is a former County Commissioner. Gillmor has the most distinctive campaign signs around.
Winner: Susan Adams.
• Sheriff: Deryl Loar is seeking his third term. His challenger, Darrell Rivers, started strong – he put out a bunch of signs early in the campaign – but he’s been very quiet in recent months. This one shouldn’t be close.
Winner: Deryl Loar.
• School Board (District 3): First-time candidate Laura Zorc is expected to win easily because her opponent, Doug Wight, didn’t raise much money and has kept a low profile. What makes this race interesting is whether a husband and wife both will be elected on Aug. 30. (Her husband, Tim, is seeking his second term on the County Commission.)
Winner: Laura Zorc.