Priscilla Whisenant Trace will succeed Larry Bustle as the next Manatee County District 1 commissioner.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” Trace said as she sat outside her election party at WingHouse in Ellenton. “The people in District 1 helped me tremendously, and I want to say congratulations to my competitors. ... I’m going to get out there now and start meeting people and setting things up trying to get better on the issues and finding out exactly what people want after I take a nap tomorrow.”
Three candidates — Corie Holmes, Ron Reagan and Trace, all Republicans — were vying to succeed Bustle, who was first elected in 2008, and fill the seat, which represents Palmetto, Parrish, Duette, Terra Ceia, Rubonia, Palm View, Gillette and parts of Myakka City. Bustle did not run for re-election.
With 17 of 17 precincts reporting, Trace, an agriculturist, received 5,402 votes, or 40.4 percent. Reagan, a former state representative, received 4,148, or 31 percent; and Holmes, a former sheriff’s deputy, received 3,814, or 28.5 percent.
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Since all candidates are Republican in the District 1 race, all voters living in the district, including Democrats and unaffiliated voters, were able to cast ballots in the race, which was decided Tuesday.
“I wish Priscilla the best, and I hope that everyone in District 1 has great representation, and I know she will represent them well,” Reagan said Tuesday night.
When asked whether this would be the end of his political career, Reagan said, “I never say never. I am going to continue to build my business and we will see.”
Holmes could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
At her election party, Trace thanked supporters, telling them “let’s party.” Some supporters wore blue “I’m related to Priscilla Whisenant Trace” shirts while others wore “I’m a proud supporter of Priscilla Whisenant Trace.”
Parrish resident Juanita Kebler, who went to Palmetto High with Trace, she said she was very excited.
“She will do a wonderful job,” Kebler said. “She’s a great person.”
Trace is an asset to the community, said Bill Kebler.
“She will do the right thing for the people in this district and Manatee County,” he said.
Ellenton resident Leslie Rogers said she is so excited for her cousin.
“She certainly deserves it and I know she will do a good job representing us,” Rogers said.
Wren Brady, who is president of Terra Ceia Village Improvement Association, said Trace knows where Terra Ceia is.
“Very thrilled for her and the community,” Brady said. “Someone that knows where we are and will help us, Rubonia and the rest of the district.”
Before she gets sworn in November, Trace said she wants to talk to the people.
“I want to talk to them about what we are going to do if we get the half-cent sales tax passed. What they want done if we don’t get the half-cent sales tax. I want to prioritize the problems that they have in their areas, and let’s make sure that we get the money that we need to fix the ones that need the fixing the first,” she said.