So how long will the print daily take to report that 2012 County Council candidate Justin Kennedy is challenging incumbent Deb Denys?
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Here's a headline shocker from the Daytona Beach News-Journal on its stellar campaign coverage: "New Smyrna Mayor Adam Barringer won’t seek re-election."
The story, posted this afternoon on line where it will likely be regurgitated in the Friday home print newspaper on Barringer's plans comes exactly a week after Headline Surfer® posted its own story, "NSB Mayor Adam Barringer not running; Commissioner Jack Grasty first in line to seek top municipal post."
There is a bit of news in the News-Journal, though, with Commissioner Judy Reiker announcing, she, too, is running again. Reiker, like Grasty and Barringer, as well as City Manager Pamela Brangaccio do no not return the 24/7 internet newspaper's inquiries unless confronted in person. It has been that way for the better part of the Barringer-Brangaccio administration since the mayor first won election in 2009, and she was hired just before that election cycle led by then-Mayor Sally Mackay.
One of the first things Barringer, Reiker and Grasty did after winning election in 2009, along with then-holdover Commissioners Jim Hathaway and Lynne Plaskett was to give themselves an extra year in office to switch to even-year elections -- for the mayor, that meant three years on a two-year-term and for the commissioners, five years on a four-year term.
In the 2012 elections, Barringer won a second two-year term when nobody ran against him. Jason McGuirk, whose parents own the Dairy Queen he runs on U.S. 1, ran for Hathaway's seat when the 18-year municipal office holder ins tread ran for the district 3 County Council seat -- winning the primary, but losing in the November runoff to Deb Denys of New Smyrna Beach, whose previous elected experience was one term on the Volusia County School Board in the early 1990s.
Because McGuirk had no opposition, he was automatically seated for a four-year term. Plaskett opted not to seek a third term and retired city firefighter Kirk Jones won a three-way race outright in the August 2012 primary with more than 50 percent of the vote total and joined McGuirk as the two newly-seated commissioners in the first commission meeting after the November elections.
While Hathaway and Denys were duking it out in the 2012 November runoff with the backdrop of a presidential election, a third candidate, then-Edgewater City Councilman Justin Kennedy, finished third and out of the running in the primary. But Kennedy has resurfaced to make a run at Denys in the 2014 elections, joining previously-announced candidates John Calache and David Machuga, both of New Smyrna Beach and seeking elective office for the first time.
Kennedy filed his papers with the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections on May 19, but the News-Journal has yet to report the news. What makes the News-Journal's lack of attention all the more concerting is its coverage of the County's Council's Waverly Media investigation led by Jonathan Kaney, Jr., who also happens to be the former general counsel to the former ownership of the News-Journal.
Denys was a big supporter of the Waverly investigation being pushed last winter by County Councilman Doug Daniels of Ormond Beach. Daniels claimed the council needed to "lance the boil" of improper in-kind political contributions from Waverly in the 2010 and 2012 elections through advertising of some of its bus benches.
Also in favor of this investigation was County Councilwoman Pat Northey, who is term-limited in her current district 5 seat representing Deltona, DeBary and unincorporated Enterprise.
Northey, the longest-tenured member of the council in her 20th year, is challenging at-large Councilwoman Joyce Cusack of DeLand, as are term-limited Holly Hill Mayor Roy Johnson and first-term Deltona City Commissioner Webster Barnaby. What makes Northey's run unprecedented is she and Cusack are both registered Democrats for the non-partisan seat.
Northey and Denys were especially outspoken ands supportive of the Waverly investigation without coming out and acknowledging what Cusack and Kennedy see as their true motives: Northey and Denys want their opponents to look bad in the eyes of the voting public. Kennedy believes Denys was banking on him being shamed into not running and Cusack described the Waverly investigation and Northey's vote for it as nothing more than a "witch hunt" designed to hurt her re-election bid.
But there are several problems with the Waverly investigation that have given new energy to Kennedy and Cusack against the four council members who backed it in Daniels, Denys, Northey and fellow incumbent Pat Patterson of DeLand, also up for election this year with two challengers in Voloria Manning and Ronnie Mills.
-- The cost: The Waverly investigation has surpassed $61,000 and could result in a six-figure bill for the county before all is said and done.
Editor's Note: Additional information will be added to this story shortly.