As candidate qualifying ends, campaigns begin

The candidate qualification period in all three island cities for the Nov. 5 election ended at noon Aug. 30 and the races are set.

Nothing changed in Bradenton Beach from the pre-qualifying period other than all candidates who had declared their intention to run qualified and now are officially candidates.

In Ward 1, Commissioner Gay Breuler, recently married, is giving up her seat on the dais and John V. “Jack” Clarke is the only qualified candidate. He is unopposed and will be automatically elected.

Incumbent Mayor John Shaughnessy will face off against challenger and former Commissioner Bill Shearon.

Ward 3 Commissioner Ric Gatehouse will be challenged by former Ward 3 Commissioner Janie Robertson, who termed out of office after six years in 2011. Gatehouse was appointed to the dais in early 2012 when no one stepped forward to run for Robertson’s commission seat.


Holmes Beach has 5 running for 3 seats

Holmes Beach is unique to the other two island cities in that candidates cannot declare with the county until they qualify through the city clerk’s office.

That left the race for three seats on the dais up in the air until qualifying ended. When the dust settled, there was a five-person race for the three seats being contested.

Unlike Bradenton Beach, where commissioners are elected citywide but must reside in their ward, the top vote-getters for the available seats in Holmes Beach win the election.

Commissioners Pat Morton, Jean Peelen and David Zaccagnino qualified to run for re-election.

Also competing for a spot on the dais are Carol Soustek and C. Melissa Williams.

Williams has lived in Holmes Beach for 15 years and said she has grown increasingly interested in taking part in the community through governmental affairs.

Besides owning and operating a graphic design and marketing company in Holmes Beach, she has served at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society for more than six years, including a two-year stint as president of the board.

She has been an active Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce member for eight years, winning the chamber’s Small Business of the Year award in 2009, and in 2011-12, she was president of the Rotary Club of Anna Maria.

“I am looking forward to leading the city into a more balanced and brighter future,” wrote Williams in a prepared statement.

Soustek is a native Floridian, 24-year resident of Holmes Beach and a 22-year volunteer for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, which awarded her its coveted “Sadie” award. She is a retired corporate accountant and served as treasurer and vice president of Save Anna Maria, also known as SAM.

She is a member of the Holmes Beach Parking and Traffic Congestion Committee and a longtime member of the Friends of the Island Library.

“I pledge to continue to fight hard to enforce all of our building codes and ordinances to stop the over development of Holmes Beach,” Soustek wrote in a prepared statement. “Save what is left of old Florida lifestyle. People come first.”

She pledges to continue to address parking and congestion issues, fight for tourist dollars and be an environmental watchdog.

“I will fight for total protection of our shoreline, (sea)grasses, mangroves and the habitat of wildlife,” she said. “I am a Grassy Point advocate.”

Holmes Beach dodged a potential headache by filling all five seats of the charter review committee. Five people qualified and all five will have a seat on the committee.

The members of the charter review committee to be sworn in after the Nov. 5 election are Travis Casper, David Chesire, Bob Johnson, Pam Leckie and James Plath.


4 seek 3 seats in Anna Maria election

Four candidates qualified to run for three Anna Maria city commission seats in the Nov. 5 election.

Incumbents Dale Woodland and Doug Copeland, planning and zoning board member Carol Carter, and political newcomer Michael Jaworski met the noon Aug. 30 deadline to file candidate qualifying papers.

Commissioner Gene Aubry said he decided not to run to keep the seat he was appointed to by a vote of the commission in November 2012, when then-Commissioner SueLynn became mayor.

“I just can’t do it at this time, but that’s not to say I won’t run again,” Aubry said. “But I will be around, and I will be involved with the city.”

Woodland is seeking his sixth term in office.

Copeland was elected by the commission in June to fill the seat of Commissioner John Quam following his resignation in May.

Carter was appointed to the P&Z board last year. She has not previously sought an elected office in Anna Maria.

Jaworski is running for office in Anna Maria for the first time. Reached at his home on North Shore Drive, he said he has lived in Anna Maria since 2007, but did not have time to elaborate.

The Anna Maria electorate has three votes among the four candidates and the top three vote-getters in the election will fill the three seats to serve two-year terms.

According to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections website, Anna Maria has 1,309 registered voters. City elections are non-partisan.

Anna Maria commissioners are paid $400 per month.

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