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John Colon to hold Manatee School Board District 5 seat two more years after qualifying period

John Colon is sworn in to the Manatee County School Board by Judge Thomas Gallen before a school board meeting in September.
John Colon is sworn in to the Manatee County School Board by Judge Thomas Gallen before a school board meeting in September. FILE PHOTO

John Colon will finish out the rest of the his term in the Manatee County School Board District 5 seat, with no challenger filing or qualifying by deadline Friday.

Voters can narrow the playing field in District 1 and District 3 races during an August primary. As of the noon deadline Friday, all the previously declared candidates either qualified for the election or withdrew from contention.

School board races are nonpartisan. Candidates must reside in the district they are running for but voters across the county can participate in the election.

Colon was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in September to replace Mary Cantrell, the former head of Manatee Technical College who had just started her first term as a school board member when she died.

District 5 covers the eastern part of the county, south of State Road 64.

District 1 represents the northern and eastern part of the county north of State Road 64. Incumbent Bob Gause is not running for re-election.

The four District 1 candidates:

▪  Xtavia Bailey, co-owner of Exb Inc., and former Florida regional director of NFL Hall of Fame, Jim Brown’s, Amer-I-Can Life Skills and anti-gang program.

▪  Gina Messenger, Title I educator and new mother.

▪  Linda Schiach, a community activist who lost to Gause in 2012.

▪  Edward Viltz, a retired teacher at Team Success charter school and a retired corporate executive.

Christine Howze, a media specialist in the district, filed to run for the seat but withdrew Friday.

The primary in District 3, which represents west Bradenton and Anna Maria Island, is between three candidates:

▪  Charlie Conoley, a banker running for his first election.

▪  Dave Miner, a lawyer who holds the seat now, is seeking his second term.

▪  Misty Servia, a planning department manager at at King Engineering Associates.

Sadie Montanus, a teacher at Palmetto High School, filed to run but withdrew in February.

In the District 1 and District 3 races, if no candidate gets more than half of the votes, there will be a runoff Nov. 8 between the top two finishers in each race.

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