In the Democratic race for Citrus County commissioner District 3, David Stanton had a sturdy lead over Zoe McLendon in early returns Tuesday night.
The winner will face Republican incumbent Vicki Phillips and independent candidate Leo Hadley in the Nov. 5 general election.
McLendon and Stanton both campaigned on platforms that made the County Commission's decision to privatize the jail and ambulance services key issues.
McLendon said she wanted to bring both the jail and the ambulance service back under county control as soon as the contracts with the private companies are up.
Stanton proposed the creation of volunteer citizens' groups to monitor the two contracts for cost-effectiveness and make monthly reports to the commission on the companies' performance.
McLendon said she hoped to lure high-paying jobs to the county, perhaps by offering incentives to businesses.
Stanton said that he is opposed to spending any county money outside the county, and that he would work to award county contracts to local businesses.
McLendon, of south Dunnellon, is a former sergeant at the Citrus County jail who quit last year shortly after Corrections Corporation of America took over jail operations, saying the company allowed lax security.
Stanton, of Lecanto, is a retired Department of Defense employee whose former work included monitoring contracts and working with budgets.