By Samantha Joseph
MARTIN COUNTY - Runaway victories, one bitter contest and early voting were among the highlights of the 2012 general election.
In one race, for instance, State Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart, trounced his opponent, write-in candidate Trent Wetherald of Hobe Sound, capturing nearly 96 percent of the vote for Martin County Sheriff.
But in another contest that showed the vast swing of the political pendulum, the District 2 school board seat went to a runoff election between Marsha Powers and Tony George. With a margin of victory at less than 0.5 percent, Ms. Powers emerged as the winner after Mr. George waived his right to a recount.
The election closed with several candidates taking large leads over their opponents, many of whom were write-in candidates and largely invisible during months of campaigning.
Martin County has about 101,800 registered voters including 52,000 registered Republicans, about 27,000 Democrats and about 23,000 with other party affiliations.
Many chose to cast their ballots before the Nov. 6 election, with about 26,000 participating in early voting between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, according to information from the Martin County Supervisor of Elections office.
All told, more than 79,400 Martin County voters participated in the election, for a 78 percent turnout.
Their votes led to decisive victories in most races.
In the District 1 county commission race, for instance, Republican Doug Smith emerged with nearly 52,700 votes with about 93 percent of all ballots cast for that seat. His opponent, write-in candidate, Alex Majka, got 3,745 votes.
In District 83, Gayle Harrell also defeated write-in Dana Kaye Conaway to capture nearly 97 percent of the vote.
And in District 82, MaryLynn Magar also had a similar victory over write-in Beverly Joy Hires.
In Stuart, longtime community leader Eula Clarke regained a commission seat, winning 3,308 votes, compared to opponent Drew Pittman's 2,597.
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