Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2008; Ponte Vedra's Picks: Clinton and Romney

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2008; Ponte Vedra's Picks: Clinton and Romney

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTINA ABEL

Ponte Vedra Beach voters chose Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Hillary Clinton for president in Tuesday's primary election.

And most of them voted in favor of the property tax amendment, but they didn't quite reach the 60 percent needed to help pass the amendment statewide.

Ponte Vedra Beach voters, from precincts as far south as the Serenata Beach Club and as far west as St. Francis-in-the-field church, were in line with the rest of St. Johns County in their selection of Romney and Clinton. About 43 percent of the county's Republicans voted for Romney, while 47 percent of the 7,822 GOP voters in Ponte Vedra Beach chose him. About 30 percent in Ponte Vedra Beach voted for John McCain.

About 45 percent of the county's Democrats voted for Clinton. About 40 percent voted for Barack Obama.

Earlier media reports said the majority of Ponte Vedra Beach voters chose Obama, but Supervisor of Elections Penny Halyburton said Wednesday that Clinton won almost every Ponte Vedra Beach precinct.

Barb Paterick, the president of the Ponte Vedra Beach Democratic Club, said she's not surprised by the close call between Obama and Clinton and is pleased by the high voter turnout.

"I'm really happy that so many people came out in light of the fact that the national media said that Florida Democrats' votes wouldn't count. They count to us," Paterick said.

In the other election question, Ponte Vedra Beach voters and most of the county residents voted for the state property tax amendment that calls for saving property owners money on the homestead exemption but also slashing government services. Countywide, 57 percent voted for the amendment while 43 percent voted against it. In Ponte Vedra Beach, 59 percent voted for while 41 percent voted against. The reform needed 60 percent of the votes to pass. Statewide, it got 64 percent.

County Commission Chairman Tom Manuel said the reform will have a negative financial impact on the county, but that they have planned for those effects. Manuel said they set aside $13 million in the general fund as a "shock absorber" if the amendment passed.

With the passage of the amendment, which doubles residents' homestead exemptions and allows them to transfer that exemption when they buy a new home, the county's property tax revenue will decrease by about 5 percent, or $10. …

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