Tea Party favorite wins GOP Primary ousting insider candidates
Jeb Smith, a fifth-generation farmer from Hastings, Florida, won the Republican primary election for St. Johns County Commission, District 2. Mr. Smith and his family have been frequent attendees at the Saint Augustine Tea Party (SATP) meetings. Mr. Smith did not take his campaign to the “kingmakers” of the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee (REC). Instead, he took his campaign directly to the people.
That strategy, in a time when the GOP is at an all-time low in public opinion, obtained a victory over eight year incumbent, Ron Sanchez. Mr. Sanchez had developed a reputation of being a bully when dealing with people who dared to disagree with him. Mr. Sanchez has a record of violating Tea Party member’s First Amendment rights at public meetings.
Kim Kendall, an unsuccessful candidate for State of Florida House of Representatives, District 17 in 2012, also tried to unseat Mr. Sanchez. This reporter has obtained information, from reliable sources, that Ms. Kendall encouraged Jeb Smith to run against Mr. Sanchez. After Jeb Smith announced his candidacy, Kendall also announced her candidacy. It looks like Ms. Kendall’s strategy was to split the agricultural vote between Sanchez and Smith, which would have given her a majority vote in the urban areas.
That strategy did not work. Kendall’s campaign, right up to the election, had the earmarks of typical Republican “dirty tricks”. The St. Johns County Republican Assembly (SJCRA), a group made up of REC members, supported Kim Kendall. In addition to being REC members, the majority of the “Assembly” members are former SATP members who left the “grassroots” Tea Party group when the Republicans lost control of it. “The Republicans fail to understand that the public is ready for a new resurgence of clean politics. Jeb Smith will fill that need,” Dave Heimbold SATP media chairman declared.