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Date of Issue: November 05, 2009

Two incumbents, one newcomer elected in Anna Maria

Incumbent Anna Maria City Commissioners Dale Woodland and John Quam were easily returned to office in the Nov. 3 city election, while political newcomer Harry Stoltzfus took the third seat, defeating incumbent Christine Tollette by 93 votes.

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Campaign workers for all five candidates in Anna Maria lined the streets of Gulf Drive on election day, imploring motorists in the city to cast a ballot for their candidate. Pictured are the grandchildren of Dale Woodland holding campaign signs. Woodland, an incumbent, was re-elected along with incumbent John Quam and political newcomer Harry Stoltzfus. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin.

Woodland topped all candidates with 560 votes, while Quam polled 500. Stoltzfus garnered 345 votes, Tollette 379 and David Gryboski finished last with 335.

Stoltzfus said he was pleased with the results, noting he and his campaign staff worked very hard prior to the election.

“I am glad we won. We worked hard and it paid off,” he said.

Prior to his election, Stoltzfus pledged to support a viable business district, but said he had some concerns about recent ordinances passed that affect the retail-office-residential district.

Woodland, who will serve his fourth term as commissioner, said it was nice to be the leading vote-getter and he believed people respected his hard work and voting record in returning him to office.

“This was the strangest election I’ve ever been in,” he said.

“But it’s been a very rewarding experience. I got so many compliments while campaigning and it’s nice to be respected,” Woodland said.

“I believe people respect the fact that I am my own candidate and I’m not ‘anti’ anything.”

Efforts to reach Quam after the election were unsuccessful.

Quam won a fifth term in office.

Tollette, who had served two terms as commissioner, was gracious in defeat and thanked voters for her four years as a commissioner.

“I want to thank everyone who worked on my campaign and voted for me.” She pledged to remain actively involved in city affairs.

Gryboski said he enjoyed the experience of the campaign and studying the issues.

“This was my first time running for office. I want to thank all the people who voted and campaigned for me. I’m going to remain active in city affairs.”

Voting was particularly heavy for an off-year election as 59.6 percent of the city’s 1,349 registered voters cast a ballot and could vote for up to three candidates. Included in the 804 total votes cast were 211 absentee ballots.

The undervote (number of ballots that choose two or fewer candidates) was 184.

In the city’s last off-year election (2005), 638 of the 1,483 registered voters cast a ballot.

There were no candidates in 2007 to oppose the incumbents.

The organizational meeting for the new city commission will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Anna Maria City Hall, 10003 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, with Mayor Fran Barford presiding.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, commissioners will elect a chairman and vice-chairman of the commission. The chairman will also serve as the vice-mayor of the city.

After the organizational meeting, the commission will adjourn, then at 7 p.m. hold a work session.

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