RIP: Prominent Daytona GOP insider and leader Candy Gilman has died at 78

Photos for Headline Surfer / Candy Gilman had the face of an angel, but like other GOP leaders who followed her such as Stanley Escudero, the late Tony Ledbetter and current Volusia County GOP Chair Paul Deering, she was tough as nails in leading the party in the early 2000s.
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Candy Gilman, a prominent Daytona Beach Republican Party insider, died Friday after a lengthy illness. She was 78.

Gilman was the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Volusia County in the early 2000s. She also was a former county caucus chair for the Republican Party of Florida and a past president of the Republican Club of Daytona Beach.

Gilman was first and foremost a first-class lady and spirited Republican Party insider and leader, whose passing follows those of two other Volusia County GOP giants -- Tony Ledbetter, 71, chairman of the Volusia County REC,  and State Sen. Dorothy Hukill, 72. 

Though Gilman's death was not unexpected, having succumbed after long-term failing health, her passing has hit GOPers like Deltona's Webster Barnaby hard nonetheless.

Barnaby, a former Deltona city commissioner who is running for the Florida House district 27 seat in the 2020 elections, described Gilman as "a great friend and patriot" who will be "greatly missed."

David Baldauff remembered Gilman as a good leader during the time in which Volusia County was a Democratic county. In 2000, she became Interim chairman when then-Chairman Jim Purdy resigned to run for public defender.

"On Election night 2000, the Republican party of Florida called Candy to get attorneys to (then-Supervisor of Elections) Deanie Lowe's office," Baldauff recalled. "She called State Committeeman George Burden and others to monitor the hand recount in Bush vs Gore. In 2002 she was campaign chair for Jeb Bush's relection campaign a year in which Volusia county Republicans won every race on the ballot."

Badauff added, "I personally will miss her friendship I always sought her advice when it came to supporting various candidates. She was a patriot, a loyal Republican, and will be missed by many."

Michael Cantu, another prominent Repuiblican, who has made several runs for the Florida House, said he was was saddened to hear the passing of our neighbor and friend Candy Gilman."

Michael & Stacy Cantu remember Candy Gilman / Headline Surfer InfographicMichael Cantu, another prominent Repuiblican, who has made several runs for the Florida House, said he was was saddened to hear the passing of our neighbor and friend Candy Gilman."

"Volusia County has lost another great Republican warrior.," said Cantu of Daytona Beach. "Candy Gilman was a friend, a patriot and a great human being. Actually, my wife Stacy and Candy go back a long way. Stacy worked for Candy years ago when she owned Marker 32. I’m sure that many people have great stories and fond memories of Candy."

Michael Cantu continued, "(Gilman) was a true believer and supported candidates that she thought were worthy of the office they sought. I was happy and humbled to be among those that Candy supported. She left some huge shoes to fill and we will forever be grateful for her service and dedication to the Republican Party, and for her friendship. If for some reason God isn’t a Republican, he will be when Candy gets there. She will be missed."

Obituary for Candy Leinfelder Jones Gilman

Henry Frederick Picture

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 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 nearly evenly 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 West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.