Incumbent easily wins public defender race

election_2008

Acting Public Defender Kathy Smith easily won the primary election for the Public Defender 20th Judicial Circuit on Tuesday night, enabling her to keep the post Gov. Charlie Crist appointed her to six months ago.

Smith will face a write-in candidate, defense attorney David Brener of Fort Myers, in the Nov. 4 elections.

Unofficial primary election results showed Smith, an 18-year veteran of the office in Fort Myers, garnered the majority of the votes — nearly 54 percent — within an hour after polls closed at 7 p.m. By the time all precincts in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties were reported, it was official she’d kept her position.

Total election results are available at naplesnews.com.

Smith won over two defense attorneys who had both worked as public defenders: Brian Boyle, who has a private practice in Fort Myers, and Rexford Darrow, a partner in Casassa, Miller, Faett and Darrow of Naples.

Even though results were apparent, Smith was reluctant to speak until hours after polls had closed and results were higher.

“That’s great,” Smith said as she sat at home with her husband Mark. “I’m really proud of the race we ran, the campaign, my staff, and the support we got from five counties.

“Obviously, the primary was the big hurdle and I’m happy to have that behind me,” she said, adding that she expects nothing to change in November.

Boyle called it a good race. “I met some very good people and I thought it was spirited at times, that’s for sure,” Boyle said.

In Collier County, Smith was a clear winner, garnering 10,138 votes to Boyle’s 7,341, while Darrow earned 4,629. In Lee County, Smith trumped Boyle, 23,326 to 14,141, with Darrow earning 2,641 votes.

In Hendry County, Smith gained 57 percent of the vote, 995, compared with 634 for Boyle and 111 for Darrow. A total of 1,982 — 37.88 percent of GOP voters — turned out to vote. In Glades County, Smith won 172 votes to Boyle’s 100, while Darrow garnered 29.

And in Charlotte County, where nearly 70 percent of votes had been counted by press time, Smith easily edged out Boyle, winning the support of 9,077 votes to Boyle’s 6,221 and Darrow’s 1,933.

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