Davis, Smith win Palmetto commission seats

cnudi@bradenton.comNovember 7, 2012 

PALMETTO -- City voters on Tuesday elected Jonathan Davis and Charles Smith to the Palmetto City Commission.

Davis won the at-large Seat 1 with 2,244 votes, or 54 percent of the 4,145 ballots cast in that race, while Smith retained the Ward 1 seat to which he was appointed with 522 votes, or 62 percent of the 844 ballots cast.

Davis, owner and operator of Captain JL Davis Charter Fishing, said he was ready to begin serving the public.

"I'm going to listen to the people," he said, "and make sure to get done what needs to get done."

He said he won over his opponent, Eric Gilbert, because "people like me, I reckon," although he also said Gilbert would have made a good commissioner.

Gilbert, the owner of D3CS, a marketing company, and chairman of the city planning and zoning board, received 1,901 votes, or about 46 percent.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

With his win, Smith said he felt he had a mandate with his margin of victory.

"I feel good about what took place tonight and thankful for the support I have," he said. "I look forward to continue to serve the community."

Smith was already filling a vacancy on the commission created with the resignation of longtime city Commissioner Mary Lancaster.

Carolyn Higdon, who retired from the U.S. Army and recently returned to Palmetto where she was raised, ran against Smith for the Ward 1 seat and received 322 votes, or 38 percent.

Higdon was not available for comment Tuesday evening.

Davis and Smith will be sworn in for their four-year terms at the Nov. 19 commission meeting along with Tamara Cornwell and Shirley Groover Bryant.

Groover Bryant, who ran unopposed, will serve a second term as mayor and Cornwell also did not have challengers for the commissioner-at-large Seat 2.

The salary for commissioner and mayor is $7,723 a year.

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