Most voters across Northwest Florida only had one race to vote on today — the presidential primary — but voters in Destin were also dealing with the city’s municipal elections, including the election of a new mayor.
Destin’s new mayor will be Scott Fischer, who defeated opponent Jim Wood by nearly 400 votes. With all precincts reporting, Fischer finished with 2,329 votes or 49.1% of the total. Wood, a city council member, took 1,937 votes or 40.84% of the total. Around 10% of voters undervoted, meaning they didn’t make a selection in the mayoral race.
Fischer is a former newspaper publisher who currently serves as president of the Holiday Isle Improvement Association. Among other issues, he’s pledged to focus on low-density/intensity developments which attract “higher demographic” visitors and residents, and to “prevent the party culture of Panama City Beach from invading Destin.”
Fischer will serve out the remaining two years of former mayor Mel Ponder’s term. Ponder resigned in January to run for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives.
Voters in Destin also elected four city council members Tuesday. Under the city’s charter, candidates for city council appear on a common ballot, and the four candidates receiving the most votes are elected. As of Tuesday night, three winners are clear: Parker Destin and Chatham Morgan were both elected, and Councilman Tuffy Dixon was reelected. The fourth-place vote-getter is Cyron Marler, who finished with 1,384 votes — just five more than Steven Menchel, whose tally sits at 1,379, and just 12 more than Jim Bagby, who finished with 1,372 votes. More than 200 provisional ballots remain uncounted, and a recount could take place after canvassing officials meet Friday.
Destin voters also narrowly rejected a referendum related to a right-of-way vacation.