In an election that saw the establishment rocked to its core — no one was spared, not even on the Mosquito Control Board.
Steve K. Smith, a longtime gay rights activist from Key West, was ousted from his seat on the Mosquito Control Board — a position he had held for 20 years.
“I was privileged to serve this community for 20 years, scandal free and helped create the best mosquito program possible,” Smith said. “For four years the board has been a gang of three against two. Had I been returned to the board my hands would have been tied one against four.”
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Running for re-election as a Democrat, Smith lost the District 3 seat to his Republican challenger Brandon Pinder, an information technician. Pinder, whose grandfather served on the Mosquito Control Board, collected 22,558 votes for 59 percent compared to 16,461 votes (42 percent) for Smith.
“I overwhelmingly won the vote in Key West, some precincts four to one,” Smith said. “As the votes went up the Florida Keys it turned completely Republican. There is nothing any of the Democratic candidates could’ve done to change the sweep of red in the upper keys. This is certainly not a statement that my opponent was a better candidate than I am.”
In addition to his duties on the Mosquito Control Board, Smith has served in different capacities representing the Florida Keys in tourism. He is a past president and treasurer of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.
A native of Daytona Beach, Smith married Paul Murray in Massachusetts in 2004. The couple resides in Key West.
“I am not going away,” said Smith. “I have had a great time serving our community over these 20 years. Look for my name on an upcoming ballot.”