Gina Messenger cruised to an early victory over Ed Viltz and will join the Manatee County School Board in two weeks.
So marks the end of the bid to replace Bob Gause, who decided not to seek re-election after 10 years. Viltz and Messenger earned the most votes in the primary, knocking out Xtavia Bailey and Linda Schaich to go to the general election. Viltz and Messenger stayed mostly cordial through the campaign, each trying to cast their experiences as making them more qualified than the other.
As of 7:53 p.m., Messenger brought in 68 percent of all votes cast compared to Viltz earning 32 percent of all votes.
“I’m really excited to be able to serve the community,” Messenger said from her home, where she was gathered with some family and friends on Tuesday. “I think my main focus will be making sure we’re getting a good education here in Manatee County so we can improve our scores and our reading levels.”
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Messenger voted during the early voting period in Manatee and spent Tuesday going to different polling precincts, making a last-minute pitch for voters.
School board members serve four-year terms. The board will swear in new members during the Nov. 22 re-organizational meeting.