Voters ushered in a new day Tuesday night in Sumter County by electing Andrew Bilardello over entrenched incumbent Doug Gilpin.
Bilardello faced long odds in opposing the longtime T&D Family Co. executive who has been in office for more than a decade, and has enjoyed the support of the Developer of The Villages.
Bilardello had to sell his home in the Village of Fenney and buy a house in Wildwood when Sumter County’s District 2 was redrawn and excluded him, after he had already filed to run.
“I am excited. It’s been a long tough road,” Bilardello said after it was clear he had defeated Gilpin in the GOP contest.
Also riding to victory on Tuesday night was Jeff Bogue of Bushnell, who last year served on the ambulance advisory ad hoc committee. Bogue outdistanced two opponents, CEMEX Executive James Morris and Webster resident Sharyl Anderson in the race to succeed Commissioner Garry Breeden, who opted not to run again.
“I am really thankful to all of the people who supported my candidacy,” Bogue said.
He nervously celebrated while watching the returns with his wife Amy, son Josh and daughter Emma.
Bilardello and Bogue have been elected to four-year terms.
Gov. Ron DeSantis appointees Roberta Ulrich and Don Wiley were also victorious Tuesday night.
Ulrich topped Villager Reed Panos in the GOP contest. She was appointed to fill the term of Gary Search, who was suspended by DeSantis.
Wiley, former chairman of the Project Wide Committee, defeated fellow Villager Daniel Myslakowski. Wiley was appointed by the governor to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Diane Spencer, originally appointed to fill the seat of Oren Miller, also suspended by DeSantis.