Tight races characterize Anna Maria Island election night

rdymond@bradenton.comNovember 5, 2013 

ANNA MARIA ISLAND — Anna Maria Island voters made their voices heard Tuesday and created a little drama along the way Thursday on Election Day, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections website.

In the city of Holmes Beach commissioner race, three candidates were separated by just 12 votes and a recount could be held Thursday if requested by a candidate missing office by just10 votes.

In Bradenton Beach, challenger William “Bill” Shearon, in his third attempt, said he will be the first legally blind mayor in Florida by defeating incumbent mayor John Shaughnessy, 149-132.

The overall voter turnout ranged between 31 percent on Bradenton Beach to 36 percent in Homes Beach and 37 percent in the Anna Maria city races.

In Bradenton Beach, Janie Robertson defeated Ric Gatehouse, 154-124, to capture the commission seat in Ward 3.

In Holmes Beach, incumbent commissioner Pat Morton, who has served for a decade, ran away with the most votes with 753. The next three candidates were separated by just 12 votes: incumbent David Zaccagnino with 650, incumbent Jean Peelen with 648 and Carol Soustek with 638. C. Milissa Williams had 417.

“I understand there will be a recount between Zacagnino, Peelen and Sousek because they were only 12 votes between them,” Morton said after the election.

Peelen, however, said the recount would be between her and Sousek.

“As far as I know I came in third by 10 votes and there is a recount on Thursday between myself and Carol unless she decides to concede it,” Peelen said. “I learned this by way of the Holmes Beach city clerk who was getting it from the Supervisor of Elections office.”

The Supervisor of Election Office could not be reached late Tuesday for confirmation regarding a possible recount.

Three Anna Maria commmission seats were up for the taking and Doug Copeland led the way with 333 votes followed by Dale Woodland with 320 and newcomer Carol Carter with 310. Michael Jaworski with 227 votes did not make the cut.

Also in Anna Maria, the city charter amendment passed by, 356-70, to allow Anna Maria to tighten its rules regarding what to do if someone doesn’t run for mayor, as happened in a recent election.

When asked to analyze the City of Anna Maria commission vote, Carter replied: “It’s hard to respond, but I think Mr. Copeland and Mr. Woodland are long-time residents of the island, and I am a seven-year resident, and I think voters realized we would stand up for residents to recreate a balance.”

Carter was referring to the recent tourist boom, which has caused angst among many long-time residents over parking crunches and other violations of city law.

Morton said he was proud Holmes Beach voters recognized his body of work.

“They could see what I was doing for the last 10 years, gave me credit for it and voted for me,” Morton said. “I think the people know what I am about. I listen to what the citizens say. Now, I just want to get us all to work as a team. We are making progress.”

Like most island winners, Morton wasn’t at a fancy victory party.

“I stopped into the Havana Cabana for a soda then got out in my truck to grab my campaign signs,” Morton said.

“I went to a local place with family and all the supporters of Pat Morton and Carol Sousek and we were all happy, except that Carol didn’t win,” Peelen said.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or via Twitter @ RichardDymond.

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