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Incumbent elected to 4th term

(ran LA edition)

Longtime city commissioner Jean Halvorsen will be back for another three-year term.

Halvorsen, 63, defeated newcomer Kim Deguise, 29, by 292 votes Tuesday. Halvorsen garnered 1,599 votes to Deguise's 1,307. Following a low-key, lackluster campaign, only 8 percent of Largo's registered voters bothered going to the polls.

"It's about what I expected," said Halvorsen, who will begin her fourth term next month.

Two other races were to have been on the ballot this year, but Mayor Thomas "Thom" Feaster and longtime Commissioner Jim Miles were re-elected automatically when no one filed to run against them.

Halvorsen will represent Largo next week at the annual National League of Cities meeting in Washington, D.C.

"I'm looking forward" to another term, Halvorsen said Tuesday night. "There are lots of things getting started, like Largo Central Park, that I want to see completed."

Deguise, who received 45 percent of the vote to Halvorsen's 55 percent, could not be reached for comment.

Halvorsen's strong stand in favor of a cultural arts center in the park may have cost her votes this year. In the past, she has defeated her challengers handily.

Last month, Halvorsen voted with a narrow commission majority that determined the commission, and not the voters, would decide whether a cultural arts center should be built in the park. The decision wasn't popular with some of the city's more vocal residents, who bombarded City Hall with letters of protest.

Deguise had said that although she favored a cultural arts center for Largo Central Park, she would have left the decision up to the voters.

Largo Central Park is to be built over the next 10 years. A cultural arts center is one of a number of amenities planned for the park.