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Key West Mayor Sweeps Race, Other Monroe County Incumbents Hold On To Their Seats — And One Race Heads To Runoff

The photo shows Key West Mayor Teri Johnston holding a sign across the street from City Hall Tuesday.
Nancy Klingener
Key West Mayor Teri Johnston said her overwhelming victory shows Key Westers are united in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key West Mayor Teri Johnston won a second term Tuesday night, beating two challengers with 59 percent of the vote.

She won every precinct in the city, beating former city commissioner and bar owner Mark Rossi and real estate broker Rick Haskins.

"I think most people saw that we went through this COVID-19, or we're going through it, together and we're all making very difficult decisions in our personal lives and for the city for the longterm good," Johnston said.

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She said her re-election shows Key Westers resisting political polarization.

"I think the people of Key West just united and said we've got to get through this together," she said. "We're going to be a unified community. And that's how we're going to come out on the other side.

On the hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave most women the right to vote, Johnston became the first woman to win re-election as mayor in the city's 192-year history. She is the second female mayor.

City Commissioner Billy Wardlow also won re-election, beating Kimball Ingram 68 to 32 percent. City Commissioner Clayton Lopez led his three-man race but failed to get a majority so he'll go to runoff in November against chiropractor Ryan Barnett.

In other local races, Islamorada Mayor Mike Forster beat Key Largo businessman Robby Majeska to win the Republican nomination for the District 5 County Commission seat. There's no Democrat in that race, but Forster will face independent Jose Peixeto in November.

Also in the Republican primary, incumbent State Attorney Dennis Ward resoundingly defeated his former boss, Mark Kohl. Kohl served as state attorney from 2000 to 2008 and Ward worked as a prosecutor for two of those years. Then, Ward defeated Kohl in the 2008 State Attorney election.

Four years later, Ward lost to Catherine Vogel and Kohl worked as her office manager. But in 2016, Ward regained the office. He'll now face Democrat Donald Barrett in the general election.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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