BROOKSVILLE — Wayne Dukes easily beat two Republican opponents for a chance to unseat Democrat Rose Rocco in November for the District 2 seat on the Hernando County Commission.
For Dukes, 65, this is his third run for a commission seat. In 2008, he ran as a Republican for the District 3 seat and in 2006, he ran as a Democrat for the District 2 seat. This time, he handily defeated Ty Mullis and William Kingeter.
Retired after 32 years in civil service with the Air Force, Dukes has campaigned on the need to downsize government and stop the waste of taxpayer dollars through inefficient services such as the operation of fleet department.
"Obviously I'm very pleased. We had some very good help from everyday people,'' Dukes said. "I'm just kind of a down-to earth guy. I try to present the facts and the figures.''
He said he already has plans for the next phase. "I enjoy what I'm doing. I have a vested interest. This is my home,'' he said.
Mullis, 40, focused his campaign on running as the non-government candidate, arguing that government officials no longer had the pulse of their constituents. He stressed the need to analyze county spending to be sure that every service was done without wasting money.
He worked most recently for Sterling Development and had previously worked with local engineering and project development firms
Kingeter, 72, retired after a varied career in public service including the jobs of deputy fire chief, code enforcement director, fire marshal and construction official in New Jersey.
He pushed government accountability and called for the end of the "nepotism and cronyism'' that has landed officials in one scandal after another.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.