Despite being in office since 1996, Bradenton Vice Mayor Gene Gallo was clearly emotional about his win Tuesday night as he was surrounded by dozens of supporters at Pier 22.
“I know this is going to sound corny,” Gallo said. “For me to continue this journey, which I believe I was led to do for my life, I am just so thankful to all of the people of Bradenton. Now it’s time to get back to work because we have things to do.”
Though Gallo has held office since 1996, it was the first time he was opposed in 25 years. Gallo secured more than 47 percent of the vote, or 9,672 votes.
Opposing him was political newcomer Tami Goudy Spyker, who claimed 29 percent, or 5,887 votes.
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“Obviously, I want to thank everyone for their support and all the work they did to help me through in this campaign. A lot of people I’ve met along the way will be lifelong friends so it’s been a good experience,” Goudy said.
Goudy said she enjoyed her first political experience, and it isn’t likely to be her last. Political newcomer Devon Davis echoed that sentiment.
“We had a lot of fun and that’s the coolest part about this experience,” Davis said. “We feel like we got our message out that a lot of voters agreed with us that there needs to be change. I’ve always loved public service, and being out in the community always will be. For me, it’s always been about the city.”
Davis finished with 23 percent of the vote, or 4,692 votes.
Ward 5 results
Ward 5 was a tight race between incumbent Harold Byrd Jr. and challenger Keenan Wooten with Byrd securing 50.87 percent of the votes, or 9,878. Wooten wasn’t far behind with 9,540 votes.
“I recognize that I’m at the twilight of my political career,” Byrd said. “But there are a lot of things on the table we want to do, and I want to emphasize that I hear the public and I serve at the will of the citizens. We want to do a lot more for this city, and I will do those things for the community.”
Wooten offered his congratulations to Byrd and said he hopes to work with the incumbent in the future for the betterment of the city and Ward 5.
“I’m grateful to all my supporters,” Wooten said. “I feel like we brought a lot of new awareness to the city about what we have going on and I have a positive outlook on running again in Ward 5 and become victorious, being this race was so close. For now, I just want to thank my friends and family and will continue to work in the community.”