Orange City Mayor Tom Laputka Pushes Candidacy Of Daytona's Patrick Henry

By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Orange City Mayor Tom Laputka's run for Volusia County's top elected office came to a less than stellar conclusion when the final votes were tallied in the Aug. 30 primary. Laputka finished dead last among the five candidates. 

But the veteran politician isn't sulking. Not by a long shot. 

Instead, Laputka, who leaves office as Orange City mayor after the Nov. 8 general elections, is putting his political energy to good by pushing the candidacy of a fellow Democrat and friend, Patrick Henry, who is running for the district 25 state representative seat.

First the dismal news from the primary: Laputka finished with a mere 10,596 votes or 12.78 percent. His municipal colleague, Ormond Beach Mayor Ed Kellet won the primary with 38,985 votes or 47.01 percent. The incumbent, Jason Davis finished second with 19,233 votes or 18.02 percent. Greg Gimbert ofd Daytona Beach, the single-issue pro-beach driiving candidate finished third and just ahead of Laputka with 14,110 votes or 17.02 percent and out of the running.

Had Kelley gotten 50 percent plus 1 vote, he would have won the lead county seat outright in the primary. But because Kelley didn't, he and Davis will square off in the Nov. 8 race. If Lapoutka is supporting one of these two, hew'sa not saying. At least not yet. 

But Laputka shared a campaign posting on this Wednesday evening for Patrick Henry, the term-limired Daytona Beach city commissioner, who is running in the general election for the fdistrict 25 seat in the Statehouse as a Democrat. Henry's opponent is Republican Michael Cantu.

Unlike Volusioa County's municipal, cvounty and judicial races, which are non-partisan, the state races are partisan. Cantu was unopposed in the GOP for a second consecutive time. In 2014, then-incumbent Dwaye Taylor defeated Cantu, with 53 percent of the votes. But Taylor, term limited this time arounds, instead, ran for the Democratic primary for the Conngressional seat, but was upset by Bill McCullough. Taylor finished second in the fdour candidate field while on the GOP side, incumbent Ron DeSantis easily dispatched two others to secure his place in the general elections.

That leaves Henry in his first try for state office against Cantu. While Cantu got a free pass through the perimsaryu fior a second time, Henry had to spend some effort defeating his Democratic opponent, Steve Miller, ultimately garnering more than 60 percent of the votes. 

And this isn't the end of the campaighn musical chairs. Patrick Henry's zone 5 seat on the Daytona Beach seat will be filled by the winner of the Nov. 8 runoff between primary winner Dannette Henry, who received 46.3 percent of the votes in  the three-candidate primary. She will do battle with the primary runner-up, Myke Tairu, with 29.67 percent of the vote. And finally among the musical chairs, Mayort Derrick Henry won his second four-year term outright with62.15 percent of the votes, guaranteering at least one Henry a seat moving forward with kid sister Dannette Henry, expected to win in November and join him in taking Patrick Henry's seat.

And this is where Laputka comes in. Without saying a word, the wily Orange City Democrat shared Patrick Henry's Sept. 1 campaign announcement. In it, Henry said in part, "I am humbled by and thank you for your overwhelming vote of confidence on Tuesday night as I secured the Democratic nomination for Florida House District 26! I appreciate each and every person who placed a sign in their yard, made a phone call, gave a donation, volunteered their time, talked to their friends and neighbors and those who braved the stormy weather to make it to the polls." With a forward spin, Henry added, "As we look toward the final hurdle: the general election in November, I ask for your continued prayers and support."

Daytonma's Patrick Henry is running for the Statehouse / Headline SurferAnd this is where Tom Laputka comes in. Without saying a word, the wily Orange City Democrat shared Patrick Henry's Sept. 1 campaign announcement.

In it, Henry said in part, "I am humbled by and thank you for your overwhelming vote of confidence on Tuesday night as I secured the Democratic nomination for Florida House District 26! I appreciate each and every person who placed a sign in their yard, made a phone call, gave a donation, volunteered their time, talked to their friends and neighbors and those who braved the stormy weather to make it to the polls." 

With a forward spin, Henry added, "As we look toward the final hurdle: the general election in November, I ask for your continued prayers and support."

Laputka's only reference to his own election defeat, in truly sublimninal, fashion, was acknowledging two days later that his family made him a brownie cake in a pan with a heart-shaped indentation in the nmiddle before it was cut up.

Of the occasion, Laputka wrote on his Facebook page, "Gail and my #1 Daughter Stacia made this pan of Brownies tonight, I can only guess is they added some Love in the mix!"

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area in Central Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards in print & digital mediums. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's pursuing a Master of Arts degree in New Media/Journalism (graduation in March 2018). Frederick earned his BA in Political Science/Public Admin. (concentration in Writing) from Central Connecticut State University, in 1984, where he recieved the President's Citation for "academic excellence & outstanding campus/community service." Prior to myriad duties as publisher/award-winning journalist of Headline Surfer, 2008-present; Frederick was city hall reporter for the Palatka (FL) Daily News, 2007-2008; city editor of the Taunton (MA) Daily Gazette, 2005-2006; cops & courts/legal affairs writer for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, 1996-2004; and cops & courts reporter for the Rockland (NY) Journal-News/Gannett Suburban Newspapers, 1989-1996.