Longtime Inverness City Council member and vocational school teacher Julian "Pete" Kelly held an overwhelming lead over Homosassa Elementary School principal Robert Brust in the race for Citrus school superintendent.
Kelly, the Republican candidate, began election evening by participating in his last City Council meeting. He has campaigned on the need for peace and harmony between the school administration and the board. The 54-year-old educator has spent 24 years teaching and has pushed to have more education dollars allocated for the classroom.
Seen by some as the administration-backed candidate, Kelly has been proud of the support he has received from top school administrators, including the former superintendent.
With the gap widening in the race late Tuesday night, Kelly said he was feeling good about the results.
"I've never had so much support in my whole life," he said. "There have been so many people concerned about education and who have liked what I've had to say. I guess they're willing to accept my leadership."
The Democratic candidate, Brust, 46, has spent a dozen years as head of Homosassa Elementary School after teaching music there for 11 years. Supported by the Citrus County Education Association and a longtime member of the administration bargaining team with that union, Brust has touted his management experience.
Vote totals for write-in candidate Ansel Briggs, 57, are not expected to be known until they can be counted by hand.
Tuesday's election marks the first time in more than two decades that the superintendent's position has appeared on the ballot. The winner replaces Democrat James Hughes, who chose not to run.