Politics & Government

TV talk show hostess Chelsea Handler to interview Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon about tie-breaker election

Talkback | Amaris Castillo discusses Chelsea Handler coming to Anna Maria Island

Comedian Chelsea Handler is scheduled to visit Anna Maria Island later this month to interview Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon about the bizarre election tie-breaker this past November. Amaris Castillo discusses the details with TV partner B
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Comedian Chelsea Handler is scheduled to visit Anna Maria Island later this month to interview Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon about the bizarre election tie-breaker this past November. Amaris Castillo discusses the details with TV partner B

BRADENTON BEACH -- The story of Bradenton Beach's unusual election tie-breaker last November between William Shearon and Jack Clarke is poised to be featured in a Netflix series.

Chelsea Handler, comedian and host of the Netflix documentary series, "Chelsea Does," will be visiting Mayor Shearon in mid-March, public emails reveal. Clarke declined an interview for the talk show.

According to a Feb. 19 email to Bradenton Beach City Clerk Terri Sanclemente, an associate producer from the show asked about holding a room on March 15 at Bradenton Beach City Hall for the interview.

"Please let me know if this is a possibility and what times would work best for you," the producer writes in the email.

On Nov. 4, Shearon was named mayor of Bradenton Beach after he drew an ace of clubs in the tie-breaker. Then-Mayor Jack Clarke, who sat across from Shearon in the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office, drew a 10 of clubs. The tense moment came after a machine recount and a manual recount confirmed the 195-195 result from the night prior.

"There again, it's something unique and, I guess, newsworthy," Shearon said Monday with a laugh. "I don't mind sharing that at all and the main reason why I don't mind sharing it is because it just goes to show that every vote counts. Word is going out that everybody should exercise their right and as far as I'm concerned, they have a responsibility to vote. You can't complain if you don't vote."

Clarke told the Herald via email that "revisiting what is a done-deal serves little purpose."

"My ego does not demand a forum of this type to indulge in speculation or a litany of complaint. I appreciate the opportunity offered by Ms. Handler, but I see no up-side to exposure of this type," he wrote. "Participation in this type of presentation merely furthers the negative perception of Bradenton Beach. The Supervisor of Elections Mr. (Mike) Bennett followed to the letter the statutes and policies of his office."

Clarke added that he has no complaints and that "it is time to move on."

A producer on the show said they couldn't comment at this time.

On Nov. 4, Bennett laid out the rules to both Shearon and Clarke before opening a fresh deck of cards and shuffling them. Others looked on from the other side of a wall cut-out as Clarke cut the cards first, Bennett reshuffled the cards and then Shearon took his turn.

The bizarre tie-breaker was the first time in at least 20 years that an election ended this way in Manatee County, according to Bennett. News of the tie-breaker widely spread throughout Florida and the rest of the country. Shearon said he lost count of the number of people -- many from other states -- who approached him about it.

Shearon, a former mayor, had been removed from office and succeeded by Clarke after a recall election on May 19. The November election closed a tumultuous chapter that started in late 2014 when a petition committee to recall Shearon was formed.

"It's a unique situation because how often do you have actual ties?" Shearon said.

Asked if he was familiar with Handler's witty and often vulgar sense of humor, Shearon said he wasn't but that "we'd get along good, then."

Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.

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