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seminole county news, seminole county post, news seminole county, joel greenberg, ray valdes, kathryn townsend, susie dolan, cindy youell, mike mclean, sammy gibson, grant maloy, dede shaffner, abby sanchez, jacob engels,

Businessman Joel Greenberg, taxpayer watchdog Grant Maloy, executive Susie Dolan, and educator Abby Sanchez earned their wins with grassroots support.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Last weeks primary elections sent a clear message in Seminole County, voters are ready for something different.

 

Ranging from the party position of GOP State Committeewoman to Tax Collector to Clerk of Courts & Comptroller, messages of a more efficient and unifying energy in elected office were main points of each candidates campaign.

 

GOP State Committeewoman --

 

First, let's start with GOP State Committeewoman, where first-term incumbent Kathryn Townsend was ousted by WastePro executive Susan "Susie" Dolan.

 

Susan "Susie" Dolan (Victor)

 

Mrs. Dolan ran with an energetic and always optimistic strategy that included several key straw poll victories, active social media interactions, and remained busy by attending dozens of political events and forums.

 

Kathryn Townsend (Defeated Incumbent, 2nd Place) Her main opponent, Kathryn Townsend, had held the office for one term, and was regularly criticized for a poor attendance record, suing the GOP, and running against a popular incumbent.

 

Townsend remained very close with embattled Tax Collector Ray Valdes, who is under investigation for corruption and using his office for personal gain. That proximity to Valdes and her own lacking background of achievements for the local Republican Party were no doubt contributing factors in her bruising loss.

 

Cindy Youell (Challenger, 3rd Place)

 

Fringe candidate Cindy Youell, who dropped over $50,000 of her personal stash, relied solely on radio ads during conservative drive-time radio and odd campaign literature littered with ultra-rightwing dribble.

 

Needless to say, I think she would rather be on a $50,000 jaunt in the Swiss Alps or Galapagos right now.

 

Seminole County Tax Collector --

 

I think everyone pretty much knows how we felt about this race from the start, but even we could not predict how competitive it was between 28 year incumbent Ray Valdes and political newcomer Joel Greenberg.

 

Dogged by new information uncovered by the Seminole County Post, Valdes was not able to escape the evidence that documented his involvement in buying hundreds of items his office organized and auctioned off.

 

Worse yet, he failed to report the income from these purchases, and he used more than a half dozen aliases and shell corporations to cover his tracks.

 

Businessman Joel Greenberg wasted no time organizing a crack campaign team that hit thousands of doors in less than 3-months time. A message of hope, progress, and creating a more efficient office was Greenberg's angle.

 

Valdes argued that improving the technology and efficiency of the office was not needed and a "stupid idea."

 

WFTV, News13, and the Orlando Sentinel would eventually piggyback off the Seminole County Post investigation exposing Valdes, making it hard for the incumbent to shake the stink of being Seminole County's Boss Tweed.

 

Valdes even refused to answer News13 reporter Amanda McKenzie's questions about his company Conservation Trust Enterprises, LLC, ending an interview early and slamming his office door. Unfortunately for him, that was the beginning of the end.

 

Days later, he would assault me and steal my phone, before returning it and fleeing the scene when I reported him to the police.

 

That seemed to seal the deal for Valdes, who kept creating problems for himself, instead of fighting back Greenberg's surging campaign.

 

After snagging the majority of absentee or by mail voters, two-weeks of negative press and police recommending charges against Valdes lead to him losing both early vote and election day.

 

During his unraveling, the Greenberg camp rolled out high profile letters of support from FSU Coach Bobby Bowden, Northland Pastor Joel Hunter, and former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr, son of the late Barry Goldwater.

 

Coupled with ad buys on television and radio promoting that positive message of a renewed belief in Seminole County that would usher in much needed improvements to the Tax Collector's office were well received by residents.

 

Greenberg earned a strong mandate by winning 72 of 80 precincts overall.

 

With a few months until he is able to officially take office, all eyes will be on outgoing Tax Collector Ray Valdes, to see if he will allow for a peaceful transition of power.

 

Seminole County Clerk of Courts & Comptroller --

 

It was a tough battle, and we admittedly wanted a much different outcome, but Grant Maloy damned his critics by steadily walking tens of thousands of homes over the past year.

 

The former Seminole County Commissioner was outspent across the board by his two other opponents, who both had top-notch campaigns, but Maloy's focus on the grassroots resulted in a resounding victory.

 

Former Seminole County Sheriff's Office Undercover Captain Sammy Gibson and former Commissioner Mike McLean both worked their tails off. However, we believe that Gibson is the most likely to have another shot at elected office up his sleeve.

 

McLean should take a cycle off and shore up his successful insurance business before taking another bite at the apple, cause he would do well by Seminole County residents.

 

As someone who agrees with Maloy's libertarian'esque approach to limited government and keeping a microscope on government spending, we are hopeful that he balances that with a diplomatic approach to his official duties.

 

He will have a great partner in Joel Greenberg, as they both have made it clear they want to revolutionize the offices with new technology and a more efficient approach.

 

Seminole County School Board, District 3 --

 

Longtime educator Abby Sanchez really wanted to shake up the way business was being done on the School Board, and hit the pavement harder than almost any other candidate in Seminole County.

 

Supported by the fact that 20+ year incumbent Dede Shaffner seemed insanely out of touch, Sanchez addressed how we need to re-evaluate teaching to the test and vocational options for students.

 

We are optimistic that Mrs. Sanchez will follow through on those promises and fight the status quo, which is exactly what students need.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

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