Voter turnout for the Aug. 14 primary election was higher than in 2008, but lower than the 2010 primaries.
Voter turnout in 2008 was 16.25 percent, while 24 percent of voters turned out in 2010, according to Nancy Bignell, Manatee County assistant supervisor of elections. A little more than 21 percent of voter turnout was recorded for the 2012 primary.
“We always prepare and expect a bigger turnout, but you never can predict these things,” said Bignell. “It usually depends on who is on the ballot, but we thought we had some elections on this ballot that would bring voters out.”
Some primary elections were to determine who would advance to the Nov. 6 general election, but others, such as the Manatee County sheriff race, decided the officeholder.
Incumbent Brad Steube was up against Republican Bill Waldron. With no Democrat in the race, the primary decided Manatee County’s sheriff for the next four years.
Steube defeated Waldron, a former homicide detective, with 78.33 percent of the vote. According to the official tally, Steube received 32,442 votes to Waldron’s 8,972.
Steube soundly defeated Waldron across the island, as well. He took Anna Maria 239-84. Holmes Beach recorded a Steube victory of 276-69 in Precinct 92 and 276-74 in Precinct 93.
The sheriff claimed Bradenton Beach with a 101-29 victory.
Von Hahmann loses supervisor of elections race
Cortez resident Jane von Hahmann, the former county commissioner representing the island, finished third out of four Republican candidates vying to compete against Democrat Charles Williams in November for the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office being vacated by Bob Sweat, who is retiring.
State Senator Michael Bennett, who has termed out of office, won the GOP nod with 36.75 percent of the vote, or 9,163 votes. Von Hahmann claimed 26.77 percent of the votes, or 6,697 votes.
Anna Maria supported von Hahmann with 83 votes to Bennett’s 44. Bradenton Beach also supported von Hahmann with a narrow victory of 27 votes to Bennett’s 26. She finished third in both of the Holmes Beach precincts.
In other local interest races, Betsy Benac defeated Joe McClash in the District 7 at-large Manatee County commissioner race in what proved to be the tightest race of all. Benac received 12,872 votes to McClash’s 12,378 votes.
Bob Gause defeated Linda Schaich in the District 4 Manatee County School Board race with 22,332 votes to Schaich’s 17,324 votes. Gause’s district includes Anna Maria Elementary School.
And Dave “Watchdog” Miner, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island, defeated three candidates in the District 2 Manatee County School Board race, collecting 19,217 votes. The closest competitor was Robert Moates with 12,235 votes.
Voter registration for the Nov. 6 general election runs through Oct. 9.
For complete primary election results and information, visit www.votemanatee.com or www.islander.org.