LIVE OAK, Fla. — As he has remained on the campaign trail the past four weeks, at least one potential voter was surprised to see Mark Stewart at her door.
“For some reason, some people think it’s already over,” Stewart said. “I don’t really know what gave them that impression. A lady asked me the other day, ‘What are you doing here?’ I told her I was still out running.”
Indeed it’s not over.
At least not until Tuesday when the runoff election for the Live Oak City Council’s District 4 seat lasts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Community Presbyterian Church, 830 Pinewood Dr. SW. Early voting runs through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily at the Supervisor of Elections office, located at 220 Pine Ave. SW.
Last month, Stewart and Crawford topped the four-man race for the open seat on the council, garnering 109 (35.5 percent) and 77 (25.08 percent) votes respectively. But with neither garnering a majority of the ballots, with John W. Hill and Jerry Poole also running, here they still are, hard at work.
For Crawford, it’s a continuation of the work he’s already been doing the past several years when he was among a group of active residents that regularly attend meetings and pushed for change even prior to deciding to run.
“I’ve been working for the last two years already,” he said, adding that through that work the remainder of Ichetucknee Road/Miller Street is set to be paved as well as sidewalks constructed for that high-traffic road and the council is looking into the leak policy on water bills. “We’ve already got a lot of stuff accomplished and the other guys are talking about what they're going to do and Mark has already had a chance to serve.
“I’ve been working for the past two years, going to the city council meetings and I didn’t see any of them until the last couple of months. I’ve been fighting and we got a lot accomplished.
“I feel like I can do more being on the council than even being out in the public, even though we got a lot accomplished.”
While Crawford has that experience of pushing for change as a concerned resident, Stewart has experience with the city government as well. He served on the council from 2006 to 2010. He believes that will be vital to a council that doesn’t have much experience in the position with Don Allen in his first year after winning a special election last year and Robintina Reed set to take office after unseating John W. Yulee Sr. in last month’s election.
“One thing I know I’m going to bring is experience,” Stewart said. “Right now, there’s the least experience on the council that there’s been in several years.”
One goal that both have expressed is a desire to bring business development into the city and make that process easier.
Both also are hoping voters turn out the remainder of this week and Tuesday.
“I just encourage everybody that can to get out and vote because it’s going to be critical,” Stewart said.