With 53 percent of the vote, Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston won his fifth term at the helm of the city with 11,574 votes.
Poston said he sees it as a public statement that the citizens of Bradenton believe that the city is heading in the right direction.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Poston said Tuesday night at a post-election party in downtown Bradenton. “We couldn’t be more pleased. We ran this campaign like we always do, we ran it like we were behind. It was a grassroots campaign.”
Poston said he knocked on more than 8,000 doors in the city, “and I’m so happy with my team. Tonight says people believe in the vision we have for this city. We love Bradenton because Bradenton takes care of one another, and that’s what makes it so great living here.”
Warren Merriman secured 27 percent of the vote, or 5,840 voters who “believed in me. We had 10 months of a grassroots campaign, and I’m proud of the efforts from everyone from my family and friends and my supporters. I want to thank every one of them.”
Merriman said he wishes Poston well in the next four years, but plans to be back in 2020.
“I have a passion for public service,” he said.
Rounding out the three mayoral candidates was Eleuterio Salazar Jr., who garnered 4,067 votes, or almost 19 percent.
“The results didn’t come our way, and what we said from the beginning is we’ll accept the results either way,” Salazar said. “We’ll continue being out in the community and being involved.”
Salazar announced that he has been nominated to be vice chair of the Manatee Democratic Party.
“So I look to take on that position and ensure we have a party that is energized and ready to go,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I want to congratulate my opponents. I’m sure Poston will get to finish his wish-list items in the next four years, and at that time, hopefully we’ll see change.”