BRADENTON -- Bradenton's Ward 3 voters appear to be happy with the work of their current city representative as incumbent City Councilman Patrick Roff easily fended off a challenge from political newcomer Paul Thomas in Tuesday's election.
Ward 3 consists of much of the Historic Ware's Creek neighborhood, which Roff, prior to his political career, helped organize. The bulk of the ward's boundaries are from Ninth Street West, west to 26th Street West and from Manatee Avenue West to the north, south to 26th Avenue West.
His work to restore his ward and promises to turn that same focus to the 14th Street West corridor were enough for voters to want him to continue his work. Roff secured 7,455 votes, or 50 percent of the vote compared to Thomas' 5,153, or 34 percent. About 15 percent of Ward 3 voters, who voted in the election, did not cast a vote in the city race.
"It's nice that people say, Thank you,' and by voting for me, they said, 'Thank you,'" Roff said. "I'm proud of the accomplishments we've done and it takes a team. It's really heartening for me that the voters have trusted me with another four years."
Thomas said he's just glad the election is over.
"This is like being in school," he said. "I wouldn't have lived had I not done it, but I wouldn't do it again."
For Roff, the work continues. He is excited for what the future holds now that the city has not only survived, but is emerging in good shape from the economic recession. He said Bradenton has become the hot spot for business investors across the country and believes the city will lead the Gulf Coast in imaginative thinking, smart growth, livability and developing a sense of place.
"This place is rocking and rolling," he said.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.