Wilkeson and Proctor re-elected

In a strong voter turnout of over 1,200 voters, incumbent city council members Charlie Proctor and Jodi Wilkeson retained their seats in the Zephyrhills Municipal Election.

Proctor defeated long-time political rival Manny Funes handily taking 61.01 percent of the vote or 740 votes to Funes’ 473. Wilkeson was re-elected on a closer margin over political newcomer Sam Turgeon. Wilkeson claimed 54.8 percent of the vote or 668 votes to 550 for Turgeon.

Both winners, who celebrated their victories together at a watch party at the Silverado Golf and Country Club, will retain their seats for a four-year term.

Wilkeson watched in excitement as the result populated into the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections website cast onto a big screen television.

“I’m grateful first of all because it’s a great honor to serve the people of Zephyrhills,” Wilkeson said after the final votes were tallied. “I genuinely care and I’m in it for the right reasons. My hearts in the right place.”

Her next term will be filled with tough decision related to growth and the availability of resources.

“Do we have challenges? Yes we have challenges, but we have a team in place now that can solve them.”

Turgeon, a realtor, made a strong run coming just short. . A 56-vote swing would have changed the result. He was disappointed by the result, but it didn’t discourage him.

“It was a good race,” Turgeon said from his watch party at the Zephyrhills Women’s’ Club. “It was a huge learning experience. It was a true living civics class.”

Turgeon and Wilkeson ran very clean campaigns showing respect throughout the race.

“I have the utmost respect for Jodi,” Turgeon said “She will continue to do a good job and I will help her anyway I can to make Zephyrhills a better place to live.”

Wilkeson reciprocated the praise to her opponent.

“It was a great campaign,” Wilkeson said. “He had a strong social media game and he was out there and had a nice team working at the polls and going door to door. Honestly, he’s a terrific guy.”

Proctor’s wide margin of victory wasn’t a surprise since he and Funes have campaigned against each other in the past. Proctor unseated Funes several years ago.

“First of all, I’m just humbled by the fact that these wonderful citizens of Zephyrhills felt I did a good enough job to bring me back again,” Proctor said with his wife Angie at his side. “{You always have your doubts. I always tried to do the best I can. I’m sure I’ve done stuff to make people unhappy, but every decision I ever made was for the betterment of the city. I’m thrilled and I feel unworthy. I love what I do.”

Funes, who was eating dinner when he was contacted for an interview, was surprised the margin was so high.

“I thought it would be closer,” Funes said. I think the endorsements had a lot to do with it. That is a tough hill to climb.”

Proctor and Wilkeson will be sworn in Monday, April 22.

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