MANATEE — After enduring a tight race against a longtime incumbent in August’s Republican primary, Betsy Benac won the Manatee County Commission’s District 7 at-large seat in convincing fashion.
With all 113 precincts reported, Benac defeated write-in candidate Thomas Dell with more than 94 percent of the vote.
“It was a tough campaign, there’s no doubt about it,” Benac said. “I learned a lot. This being my first campaign about what’s good and what’s bad. But I think overall we ran a great race. I think there was a lot of information that we shared, and I think we got our message out. It was well-received, so I am very thankful to have the support of the community.”
It’s a stark contrast to August’s primary where Benac beat Joe McClash, who spent more than two decades on the county commission, by a narrow margin.
Spurred on from that successful campaign, Benac turned her attention to Tuesday’s general election and she claimed the at-large District 7 seat. Benac is a newcomer to politics after previously spending a 30-year career as a planner, beginning with Manatee County and then with private development firms.
Phone calls to Dell were not returned on Tuesday.