Key West mayoral hopeful Teri Johnston overcame opponent Margaret Romero with 66.11 percent of the vote on Tuesday. 10,038 Key West citizens cast their vote in the mayoral race, with all precincts reporting. Johnston is a two-time City Commissioner and has lived in Key West for 20 years. She succeeds Craig Cates, who has been Key West Mayor since 2009.
Johnston’s was also a historic victory—she is the first “out” lesbian mayor to be elected in Florida. Johnston’s response to the pioneering nature of her victory was, “That’s what I’ve been told,” as reported by the Miami Herald. Johnston’s sexual identification, as historic and hopeful as it may be for the LGBT community and America as a whole, was not the focus, but rather her issues-driven campaign centering on environmental preservation and economic balance.
Johnston credited her victory to her team cooperation, and she said she looks forward to “working together” and continuing to build the “inclusive environment” that is Key West. County Commissioner Heather Carruthers commented on being proud of the “respectful races” that were run locally for multiple offices. Tellingly, the first person to congratulate Johnston at the Harvey Government Building was Margaret Romero, her opponent. Teri Johnston will be the second female mayor in Key West history, and she will be sworn in on Nov. 19.