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Date of Issue: November 05, 2009

BB voters decide mayoral race

No one emerged Tingley Memorial Library Nov. 3 with a newly checked out book, but citizens emerged with “I voted” stickers and a candidate emerged with a two-year job as Bradenton Beach mayor.

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Michael Harrington, Michael Pierce and Diane Pierce wave to voters on election day in Bradenton Beach.
Islander Photo: Lisa Neff.

William “Bill” Shearon took on incumbent Michael Pierce in the race for mayor. The two also ran against one another in 2007.

Pierce won with 65 percent of the vote.

He received 191 votes; Shearon received 103 votes.

Pierce awaited the count at the polling location at 7 p.m. with his wife and a few supporters. He had a sunburn from his day outdoors waving to voters, and he was quite pleased with the results and thanked everyone for their support.

Pierce ran on his record the past two years, as well as his work as a city commissioner, urging voters to support him if they were satisfied with the city’s direction.

Pierce, during the campaign, said he remained proud of the projects the city has tackled in recent years, when he served as commissioner and also as mayor, including the reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier, the approval of new solar-powered streetlights for the commercial district and the installation of new sidewalks along Cortez Road and Gulf Drive coming off the bridge.

Shearon campaigned for a “new direction” on a platform that included eliminate deficit spending, review budget line items and eliminate no-bid contracts.

Shearon thanked his supporters and said “I guess the voters don’t have the same concerns that I do…. I’ll continue to serve on the planning and zoning board if I’m asked to serve another term.”

As of Oct. 30, Pierce had raised $3,249.68 in cash and in-kind contributions and Shearon had raised $3,520 in cash and in-kind contributions.

About 32 percent of the city’s 905 registered voters cast ballots in the race — either at the polling place or via the absentee process. Last year, with a presidential contest on the ballot, about 80 percent of the city’s voters participated in the election. In 2007, for the mayoral election, 37 percent of voters participated in the election.

Election day began before dawn in Bradenton Beach.

While election officials readied for the voters at Tingley, Pierce set up a couple lawn chairs about a block away along Gulf Drive.

“I want to make sure I get a good place to watch,” he said, chuckling.

Later, after polls opened, Pierce, his wife Diane and supporters waved on voters.

“I’m mostly just waving,” Pierce said as he stood on the roadside holding one of his red and white signs. “I’m getting ‘good luck’ and thumbs up.”

In his pocket was a smooth stone, given to him by a supporter who had given him a stone two years ago. Pierce said the friend told him, “The other one was good luck, so.”

Shearon, the morning of the election, was seen making his routine walk to the city’s northern boundary line.

His partner, Tjet Martin, stood near the polling place with a green and white “Elect Bill” sign and waved at motorists.

She said turnout, by mid-morning, was “better than expected so far. It’s real busy. And that’s what we want — people to get out and make a decision.”

Chris Loveless voted Nov. 3. “I care about Bradenton Beach,” he said of his decision to cast a ballot in the one-race election. Two people — incumbent Janie Robertson and newcomer Gay Breuler — were elected to the city commission without opposition.

Former Commissioner Berneitta Kays also voted.

“I always vote,” she said after stepping down the stairs at Tingley. “If you don’t vote you can’t grumble.”

Plus, Kays said, voting is a privilege and an act of good citizenship.

“I think it should be a habit for everybody,” Kays said.

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