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Incumbent Mike Twitty wins Pinellas property appraiser race

In a faceoff with Democratic challenger Trevor Mallory, Twitty maintained a healthy lead Tuesday.

Republican incumbent Mike Twitty won Pinellas County property appraiser, according to unofficial results, with 59 percent of the vote. Democratic opponent Trevor Mallory had 41 percent of the vote.

Twitty, 53, was elected to office in 2016. Before that, he worked as a property appraiser in private practice. He has been a property appraiser for more than 25 years.

During his first term, Twitty refined the existing website — the most visible aspect of the property appraiser’s office — and began building a new one he said would be more user friendly. The site gets about 1.2 million to 1.3 million visitors per year, he said, with about 50 million pageviews.

Related: Tampa Bay Times 2020 Voter Guide: 111 Local candidates on the issues

Twitty also spearheaded the creation of Amendment 5, a ballot initiative that would extend the time a homeowner has to transfer the Save Our Homes benefit to a new homestead.

Going forward, Twitty said the coronavirus pandemic is the most pressing issue facing the agency. He’s in the process of forming an analytics tool that would give property appraisers across the state better access to sales and tax data to assess the pandemic’s impact on businesses.

Mallory, 48, is a property, renovation and maintenance manager of 104 properties for Family First Homes, an affordable housing property management firm. This was his second run for office, after an unsuccessful bid for St. Petersburg City Council in 2013. Mallory is a former minor league baseball player and lifelong Pinellas resident.

Mallory emphasized equity and inclusion in his campaign, citing national studies that found Black Americans pay more in property taxes than any other race.

He said he would carry out a review of Pinellas property data and undo any inequities. He also called for a more diverse outreach effort and special protection for seniors from rising property taxes.

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