43. Ex-Daytona Chamber exec McKinney withdraws from November runoff in Port Orange municipal race

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 in Central Florida / Headline Surfer®

Larry McKinney pulls out of Port Orange municipal race / Headline Surfer®

Scott Stiltner / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Scott Stiltner, shown in the inset, automatically won a seat on the Port Orange municipal dais after primary runner-up Larry McKinney, shown here in the larger photo, withdrew from the race.
 

PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- Larry McKinney, ex-president and CEO of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, withdrew from the November 2014 runoff for a seat on the Port Orange City Council, even though he finished second among four candidates in the Aug. 26 primary.

McKinney's surprise exit just three weeks before the runoff allowed primary winner Scott Stiltner to the district 4 seat on the Port Orange City Council.

McKinney's departure comes in at No. 43 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 local stories of 2014.

"Today, I am withdrawing from the race for District 4 City Council in Port Orange," McKinney said in a prepared statement emailed to Headline Surfer® and other media outlets.

"Unfortunately, I anticipate moving out of District 4 within the next sixty days," McKinney continued, adding, "In fact, just this past week, I had to miss both a Friday night debate, as well as the televised debate (on Port Orange government access Brighthouse cable channel) at City Hall for business meetings out of town. In fairness to the citizens, and to my opponent, Scott Stiltner, it is only appropriate to withdraw sooner rather than later."

Having finished second among four candidates in the primary to force a run-off with Stiltner, McKinney sad he believed his message of “jobs, investment and families first” resonated with the voters and that he had a real shot at winning in the general election.

"I received the endorsement of former candidates John Junco and Jim Meadows, among others, and felt like momentum was taking my campaign to victory on Nov. 4," McKinney said. "This was a very difficult decision, but unavoidable, even if unpopular. It would have been unconscionable to stay in the race and pull out after a potentialNovember victory, which would have been costly to Volusia County taxpayers for a special election."

Port Orange primary election results / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® graphic / 
Larry McKinney finished second in the Aug. 26 primary as shown at left with 21.17 percent of the votes behind Scott Stiltner who finished first with 39.64 percent, setting up a Nov. 4 run-off among the top two finishers in the field of four. But McKinney withdrew from the race, saying he was moving out of Port Orange moving within 60 days.
 

McKinney said although he's "disappointed to be exiting at this juncture, Mr. Stiltner did in fact have a strong showing in the primary with 40 percent of the vote and has worked diligently since then." He added, "We have differences for sure, namely concerning the development of Riverwalk and pension reform, but he is a gentleman and respected leader in the community and will represent all the citizens fairly.I congratulate him and wish him well."

Larry McKinney said although he's "disappointed to be exiting at this juncture, Mr. Stiltner did in fact have a strong showing in the primary with 40 percent of the vote and has worked diligently since then." He added, "We have differences for sure, namely concerning the development of Riverwalk and pension reform, but he is a gentleman and respected leader in the community and will represent all the citizens fairly. I congratulate him and wish him well."

McKinney did not indicate where he was moving to and his announcement came as a surprise to the internet newspaper. It was a week ago that McKinney took out paid political advertising that began Friday and was to run the duration of the campaign.

The banner ad was posted at 1:43 p.m. With his withdrawal from the race, Headline Surfer® removed the paid political advertisement just before midnight. There was no refund.

For his part, Stiltner was pleased the election process ended in his favor, though he said he was prepared and "that he "expected to win on election day" had McKinney stayed in it.

McKinney resigned abruptly in March 2017 after six years as president of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce. A press release issued by the chamber said McKinney had resigned for "personal and health reasons."

McKinney later said his mother was diagnosed the previous Christmas with bone cancer and her health was deteriorating so he decided to spend all his energies caring for her and giving his own children extra attention during a difficult family situation.

 
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.