MANATEE -- For the first time in eight years, Manatee County residents living in District 5 will have new representation on the County Commission board, and it will be a political newcomer.
Small business owner Vanessa Baugh beat out veteran politician James T. Golden on Tuesday to win the seat being vacated by Donna Hayes, who served the district in two four-year terms dating to 2004.
Baugh won by majority with 64 percent of the votes for a total of 21,113 while Golden, who was a two-term Bradenton City Council member, finished with 11,344 votes for 34.95 percent of the votes. The district serves East Manatee, including Lakewood Ranch and Myakka City.
"I'm overwhelmed that the people have given me the honor to represent them and be a part of mov
ing Manatee forward," Baugh said. As commissioner, Baugh will serve an area at the helm of growth in Manatee.
Throughout her campaign, Baugh has talked about having a growth and environmental protective harmony in the district and bringing more jobs to the area by attracting major companies. She also supported pay increases for Manatee sheriff's and emergency medical technicians.
"People looked at my business experience and commitment to the community in District 5," Baugh said. "People know what to expect from me. They know what my goals are." As of Nov. 1, Baugh, who beat John Colon in the Aug. 14 Republican primary, had raised more than $75,000 in contributions for her campaign.
Golden, who beat Frank Archino in the Democratic primary, was hoping his experience in local politics would give him the edge.
"The people have spoken," Golden said. "It wasn't a rejection of my experience but her great organization in the community and two years of effort to try and win the seat."
Golden had raised more than $19,000, according to the county elections office.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049.