Sam Parker won the Republican race for District 1 county commissioner in Santa Rosa County on Tuesday night, bagging 49% of the vote.
Parker will face off against Chase Gilbert, a write-in candidate, in the general election on Nov. 3.
The race for District 1 was one of the county's most competitive races this year, with Geoff Ross and Stacy Bryan facing off against Parker, the incumbent. The three candidates totaled more than $145,000 in campaign donations, with the bulk going to Parker, who raised $108,595 and netted slightly more than $6,000 in in-kind contributions.
Bryan and Ross garnered 27% and 24% of the votes, respectively.
Parker said Tuesday night that he was thrilled to be given a second term in office.
“I first want to thank my family and friends, and everybody that helped me with the campaign,” Parker said. “I want to thank the citizens for giving me the opportunity to serve for the next four years, and my number one priority for my district is to fix the Woodbine Road corridor along with Five Points. Hopefully, I’ll have the support of at least two fellow commissioners so that we can get that done.
“I think the results tonight show that we have to continue to do a better job of getting input and listening to our citizens as a county,” Parker added.
Some of the biggest issues the District 1 commissioner will face over the next four years include the future of Woodbine Road, one of the most heavily trafficked corridors in the county, as well as the burgeoning development in the Pace and Pea Ridge areas.
Parker, who also works in real estate, celebrated the groundbreaking of the Pea Ridge Connector on Friday, which he touts as a solution to the traffic issues on Glover Lane and East Spencer Field Road. He's drawn flack, however, for what some say are his pro-developer policies, as well campaign contributions from corporations like Waste Pro, which went on to receive a lucrative contract with the county.
The changing of the gavel and the swearing in ceremony for the Santa Rosa County commissioners typically happens the third Tuesday of November, after the general election.
Annie Blanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8632.
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