Grove re-elected to Apalachicola city commission


Apalachicola City Commission Anita Grove swept into her second term of office Tuesday night, capturing two-thirds of the citywide vote.

Grove, 61, of 174 Avenue C., tallied 443 votes, or 65.9 percent of the total, to 229 votes for challenger Amy Hersey, 40, of 451 25th Street.

Grove won in all three voting categories – vote by mail, early voting and on Election Day.

The largest chunk of votes were cast by mail, and Grove pocketed 223 of them, nearly 70 percent, to Hersey’s 100.

Among Election Day voters, who cast ballots at the National Guard Armory, she gathered in 141 of them, or 58 percent, to Hersey’s 101 votes.

Among those who cast votes at the Supervisor of Elections office in the week leading up to Election Day, Grove received 79 votes, or nearly 74 percent, to Hersey’s 28 votes.

In all, the turnout was about 39 percent, as 672 registered voters, out of the 1,731 in Apalachicola, cast ballots. Turnout for the last city election in 2019, when there were several races on the ballot, including for mayor, was better than 60 percent.

Still, Grove, who had waged a vigorous door-to-door campaign, said she was impressed by the turnout for the single race on the ballot.

The other seat, which had been held for but a few months by Tami-Ray Hutchinson, who replaced Brenda Ash after was appointed by the commission to be mayor, will now be held by Donna Duncan, who was unopposed in her bid to fill the seat.

Ash was also unopposed in her bid to finish the last two years of a four-year term as mayor, so she will be sworn in, as well as Duncan and Ash, next month.

“I’m happy to be serving on an all-women commission,” said Grove. “Our new mayor seems to be doing very well.”

The non-partisan election was held at the National Guard Armory.

Grove said she is tallying her final totals, but it looks like she'll have raised more than $800 for her campaign, while Hersey will have raised more than $2,000 for her effort.

Grove said she campaigned on the achievements of the city's stewardship in getting its water and sewer debt under control and its finances on solid ground.

"We've been actively working on these issues," she said. "They weren't put aside."

She said one of the toughest challenges the city is now facing is how to deal with the shrinking options for workforce housing, and the growing numbers of short-term rentals that have cut into the number of units available for those who want to secure a year lease.

"It's a heavy lift," said Grove. "It's a hard, hard issue."

She said she would like to see the city pursue workforce housing on the 12 lots it owns on 25th Avenue, but that may call for help from the community land trust.

"It's a critical need for the average person." Grove said. "I want them to be able to live here."

Out of a total of 1740 registered voters with the city limits, 1,032 are registered Democrats, 428 Republicans, 38 with small parties, and 241 with no party affiliation at all.


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