New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors endorses Chase Herbig for NSB mayor; ex-Sheriff Ben Johnson and incumbent Deb Denys for county council seats

Photos for Headline Surfer / Above,  Chase Herbig, a mayoral candidate for New Smyrna Beach is shown at left. Below him is incumbent District 3 Volusia County Councilwoman Deb Denys and at right is former Sheriff Ben Johnson, candidate for the At-Large County Council Seat.  They were among x candidates for public office endorsed by the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors.
 
'By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- It comes as no surprise that ex-Sheriff Ben Johnson was endorsed by the Board of Realtors in his run for at the at-large seat on the Volusia County Council. Same thing with endorsing Deb Denys for re-election to her District 3 County Council seat representing New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, and Oak Hill. 

And right there in the same company is Chase Herbig, one of six first-time candidates for mayor of New Smyrna Beach with no incumbent. And so it was Herbig tabbed Friday by the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors as the organization's 2018 endorsement recommended to the voters as the successor to retiring Mayor Jim Hathaway, a second-generation native son whose late father also was mayor of the city by the sea in the 1970s.

Hathaway, who is finishing his second consecutive term opted to retire instead of going for a third term.

Herbig is the proverbial rare diamond in the rough so to speak: He's a charmer in his speech delivery, though the message he delivers is a dose of reality as to the type of municipal leader New Smyrna Beach voters need to rally around if the city known for its charm has any hope of staving off greedy developers looking to carve out as much open acreage as they can with building fees flat and the economy remains ripe for speculators to make a quick buck by cramming as many dwelling units in as little acreage as possible.

Herbig is the proverbial rare diamond in the rough so to speak: He's a charmer in his speech delivery, though the message he delivers is a dose of reality as to the type of municipal leader New Smyrna Beach voters need to rally around if the city known for its charm has any hope of staving off greedy developers looking to carve out as much open acreage as they can with building fees flat and the economy remains ripe for speculators to make a quick buck by cramming as many dwelling units in as little acreage as possible.

The Board of Realtors is one of the bigger endorsements of the elections, from a grassroots labor organization that emphasizes jobs through real estate transactions and certainly, new development is always a drawer. But in a tourism-destination like New Smyrna Beach where tourism is concentrated on the oceanfront as well as the Indian River, the city of nearly 25,000 year-round residents still enjoys the rural look of yesteryear - hence The Charm.

And though there are six candidates vying for the top elected municipal post, none has the complete package like Herbig, a native Daytonan, former US Marine, UCF grad, self-starting insurance exec and 18-year New Smyrna resident, whose No. 1 priority is his family - wife, Star, and their two teenage children. Herbig said the endorsement is clearly a momentum builder.

"After an extensive and challenging interview by the legislative committee, I am humbled and honored to be chosen by New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors Legislative committee as the New Smyrna Beach Mayoral candidate to support," Herbig told Headline Surfer.

Clearly now, Herbig can rightfully claim frontrunner status in the race for mayor among the half dozen candidates  -- all newbies to elected politics.

And though the New Smyrna Beach mayor's race is non-partisan, Herbig's name has come up with greater frequency among the elders in the Volusia County Republican Party.

Likewise, two veteran Republicans, Ben Johnson, who announced his retirement in as sheriff two years ago, after 16 years as Volusia County's top cop, clearly is recognized and appreciated by the voters, and not getting an endorsement here would not have hurt him against two weak opponents, but nonetheless, he has campaigned diligently to earn the endorsement of the Realtors board and was pleased his pledge to work hard for the citizens of Volusia County in a new role countywide office was heard.

"I'm extremely gratified to receive this endorsement," Johnson told Headline Surfer. "The campaign is picking up support throughout the county and that means my message is resonating in the community. I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and go back to work."

"I'm extremely gratified to receive this endorsement," Johnson told Headline Surfer. "The campaign is picking up support throughout the county and that means my message is resonating in the community. I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and go back to work."

Denys, also a GOPer, has become a fixture from New Smyrna Beach on the county political scene since she first won a county election in 2012, defeating Jim Hathaway, then an 18-year city commissioner after he beat her in the primary in a three-way battle, but not unable to carry that momentum into the runoff election. 

Other candidates endorsed by the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors include:

• Michael Ignasiak, incumbent mayor Edgewater;

• John Nelson, candidate for School Board District 3;

• Mike Armon, candidate for Oak Hill City Commission District 3;

• Jessica Realin, candidate for New Smyrna Beach City Commission Zone 1;

• Travous Dever, New Smyrna Beach City Commission Zone 2.

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Short Bio

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 for a decade now. 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 dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.