— Steve’s Marketplace —
Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
When you look behind the curtain of the 2020 elections, you can see Nassau County’s conservative bias. On vivid, high-definition display.
Nassau County voted decisively for re-electing President Donald Trump, a Republican, by a 72 percent margin. The participation in the elections for president as well as city/state/federal races was overwhelming. More than 59,000, or 81 percent, of registered voters in Nassau County took part in this year’s elections.
Around the state, voters gave substantial support for Trump when you consider previous races and our diverse demographics. Trump reportedly gained within the growing Hispanic population, which provides a formula and pathway for future candidates.
Other local races followed a conservative path. Ironically, both U.S. Rep. John Rutherford and State Rep. Cord Byrd won re-election by receiving the same 72 percent of Nassau County’s votes in their races. Their districts include Nassau. Rutherford defeated well-known broadcaster and cancer survivor Donna Deegan, while Byrd downed Joshua Hicks.
Rutherford, a longtime sheriff of Duval County, is returning to Washington, D.C. as our representative in the 4th Congressional District. The race was hotly contested and attracted extraordinary campaign funds (each candidate raised about $1 million).
Rutherford campaigned as a Trump ally. However, Rutherford stressed that he has worked “across the aisle in a bipartisan way” during his tenure. He also highlighted his efforts to cut taxes and create jobs.
“I was proud to work with President Trump to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allows you to take home more of your hard-earned income,” Rutherford said. “It also helped to create one of the greatest economies this country has ever seen.”
While the presidential race may eventually be settled in the courts, the city commission results are final, except for one runoff. The incoming commissioners could define a new direction for the city.
In three city commission races, Bradley Bean topped Marian Phillips by 1,000 votes for the Group 1 seat, and incumbent Chip Ross defeated newcomer Wendall McGahee by 700 votes. Bean is the son of Aaron Bean, our prominent state senator.
In the remaining city commission race on the ballot, businessman David Sturges dominated the polling, but failed to reach the required 50 percent threshold to decide the race. Therefore, a runoff will be held Dec. 8 between Sturges and second-place finisher Genece Minshew to fill the Group 2 seat.
Hopefully, the new commissioners will join forces with fiscally conservative commissioners Mike Lednovich and Len Kreger. The spending in the city has been outlandish, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Both Lednovich and Kreger have pushed for lower property taxes and less spending.
Cities, counties and states will have to reassess their budgets over the next year. The pandemic has hindered tax receipts for all government entities. There is little denying this. But city officials hardly seem concerned.
The city races are non-partisan, so a conservative or liberal bias is not evident. We should hope for the best candidates, in the city and county and state, regardless of their leanings.
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor for a major U.S. brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns appear regularly in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, and on his website: www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has also published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of his favorite columns over the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].