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Meek returned to District 3

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By Chris Van Ormer

County Commissioner Joe Meek received a resounding vote of confidence Tuesday from Citrus Country voters.

Meek garnered 16,074 votes or 64.94 percent of the total of ballots cast, well ahead of his only challenger, fellow Republican Shannon Heathcock, who polled 8,677 votes or 35.06 percent.

“I am grateful to the citizens of Citrus County for the opportunity and the absolute honor and privilege to be able to work for them,” Meek said. “I will stay focused as hard as I can on growing the economy and making this a better place to call home.”

Meek speculated his performance drew voter support.

“Since being elected, I have worked very hard to make this county better and I have focused on economic development, trying to reduce costs because it’s where I was born and raised and I think people see that,” Meek said.

As far as expecting to win, Meek said: “You never know. I worked as hard as I could. We walked to thousands of houses. We became very involved in a true grassroots effort. We came into the election hoping for the best and being positive and working hard.”

Heathcock was upbeat about his loss.

“I feel I did the best I could,” Heathcock said. “Joe is the best opponent I could ever run against. I feel he is a great guy. I don’t take the easy road. He was a tough opponent and it was a hard race and I am proud.”

As for offering voters the choice to support him, Heathcock said the result indicates that voters are “happy with the way things have been going for the last four years.”

“I pointed out many things that I had found out through my research, but obviously it just didn’t resonate with voters,” Heathcock said.

Chronicle reporter Chris Van Ormer can be reached at cvanormer@chronicleonline.com or 352-564-2916.