Voters and candidates from across the Sunshine State gathered in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon for a straw poll held by WBOB.
Ed Dean, a senior editor for Sunshine State News whose radio shows can be heard on WBOB every morning and across Florida every day, launched the straw poll while Kent Justice from News4Jax moderated it. The event was held at the Salem Centre on the Southside of Jacksonville.
Several statewide candidates, including Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob White who leads the state Republican Liberty Caucus, Ashley Moody and state Rep. Frank White who are running for the Republican nod for attorney general and state Rep. Matt Caldwell, who is running in the Republican primary to be agriculture commissioner, spoke before the straw poll. So did candidates for federal offices including St. Johns County Commissioner Jimmy Johns who is running in the Republican primary in Congressional District 6 and businessman Scott Sturgill who is running for the Republican nomination in Congressional District 7.
Supporters for other candidates, including Republican gubernatorial hopeful U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, state Rep. Jay Fant who is running for the Republican nomination in the attorney general race and state Sen. Denise Grimsley and former state Rep. Baxter Troutman, who are both running in the Republican primary to be Florida’s next agricultural commissioner, were also out in full force. Mark Zeigler, who is running for the Republican nomination in state House District 15, also attended the event. There were also numerous candidates for local offices in the area. Supporters of term limits, including Nick Tomboulides from U.S. Term Limits, made the case to add an amendment to the state Constitution to add term limit school board members across the state.
More than 160 votes took part in the straw poll. With only 6 Democrats voting,there wasn’t much to garner from their results though 150 Republicans also took part in the straw poll. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam edged DeSantis 59 to 55 to win the GOP gubernatorial straw poll with Bob White in third with 36 votes. In the attorney general contest, Moody and Frank White both spoke before the straw poll. Moody won with 68 votes followed by White with 50. Despite the straw poll taking place in his Jacksonville home turf, Fant placed a distant third with 26 votes followed by Rep. Ross Spano with 5 votes. Caldwell easily won the GOP agriculture commissioner straw poll with 81 votes followed by Grimsley with 33 votes and Troutman with 21 votes.
In the Republican congressional primary straw polls, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho easily won, taking 103 votes while primary challenger Judson Sapp pulled 26 votes. Johns ran away in District 6 taking 78 votes with 21 for Waltz, 14 for John Ward and 13 for former state Rep. Fred Costello who is making his third bid for Congress. Sturgill won in District 7 with 87 votes while 17 opted for Mike Miller.
In a hypothetical matchup, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took 95 votes and City Councilwoman Anna Lopez Brosche pulled 46 votes. Asked if Jacksonville should sell the JEA, 46 said yes and 97 said no. Asked if the state Constitution should be amended to include term limits for school board members across the state, 128 said yes and 22 said no.
The Duval County Supervisor of Elections team, which included former state Rep. Dick Kravitz, managed the straw poll.