Holmes Beach has mayoral, commission challengers
Like a bell ringing to signal the end of the school day, qualifying for elections in the three Anna Maria Island municipalities came to a close at noon on June 20.
And unlike some past elections, Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach have races for nearly all seats.
The Holmes Beach November municipal election will see a challenge to the two commissioners up for re-election and a commissioner stepping down to run for mayor, also facing a challenger.
One-term Commissioners Judy Titsworth and Marvin Grossman have each qualified to run for re-election. Key Royale resident Andy Sheridan also qualified to run for a commission seat, narrowly beating the bell at the June 20 cutoff.
The mayoral race will see nine-year Commissioner David Zaccagnino face-off against political newcomer Bob Johnson.
Johnson is the chair of the charter review committee.
Zaccagnino announced his bid for mayor in May. His run for mayor comes half-way through his fifth term as commissioner and he was required to resign his commission seat.
He made his resignation effective following the Nov. 4 election and, thus, his seat will be filled by appointment by the newly sworn commission at the first meeting after the election.
Johnson’s announcement to run for mayor puts to rest Titsworth’s possible run for mayor. Titsworth previously said she would run for mayor if Zaccagnino remained unopposed.
Renee Ferguson picked up a candidate packet from city hall, but did not qualify. Ferguson said she was considering a run, in the event no one challenged the incumbent commissioners.
Positioning for appointment?
The first order of business for Holmes Beach commissioners following the November election will be filling a vacancy on the dais.
Zaccagnino has resigned, effective after the election, leaving his seat to be filled by the two remaining and two newly elected members of the board.
Carol Soustek, a commission candidate in the 2013 election and a member of multiple city committees, circulated an email June 11 stating a commissioner asked if she would be willing to fill Zaccagnino’s vacancy.
“I said, why sure, that’s why I ran for election,” Soustek said.
Soustek declined to name the commissioner who asked if she would be willing to fill the vacancy.
Her email was sent to the commissioners, mayor and the city’s human resource specialist, Mary Buonagura.
She said she intended to run for a commission seat if Commission Chair Judy Titsworth decided to run for mayor instead of re-election to the commission.
But Titsworth is running for a second term on the commission.
“I’m not going to run against the two people who have done the most up there,” Soustek said, of Titsworth and Grossman.
In her email, Soustek questioned a suggested change by the charter review committee on rules for filling a vacancy on the commission stating: “This affects me directly as I have been asked if I would consider filling the vacancy left by D. Zaccagnino for a year left on his office.”
However, the proposed change to the charter does not affect the filling of a vacancy on the commission following an election, such as in the instance of Zaccagnino’s resignation.
The proposed changes to the charter also will be on the Nov. 4 ballot and, if approved, become effective after the election.
Challengers step up for Anna Maria mayor, commissioner
Anna Maria incumbent Mayor SueLynn is being challenged in the Nov. 4 municipal election by political newcomer, longtime resident Dan Murphy.
Murphy said he’s seeking the mayor’s office because he believes he has much to contribute to the city and wants to be involved in the future of Anna Maria.
A St. Petersburg native, Murphy also is a Vietnam veteran. He moved to Anna Maria Island in 1978.
SueLynn was mayor from 2002-06, and was appointed mayor in 2012 when no one ran for the office in the city election.
Incumbent Commissioners Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter are joined by David Bouchard, a political newcomer, in the race for the two commission seats up for election Nov. 4.
Bouchard, a 12-year resident of Anna Maria, is the son-in-law of former Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick. He and his wife have three children, he said.
“I just want to contribute and believe I have abilities and the interest that will help the commission and community,” Bouchard said.
Webb is seeking his fifth term as commissioner, while Yetter is running for her second term.
The deadline to qualify to run in the November election was noon June 20.
Anna Maria commissioners are paid $4,800 annually, while the mayor receives $9,600 in annual compensation.
As of May 31, the SOE reported 1,246 registered voters in Anna Maria.
The deadline for all voters to register in time for the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 6, according to the SOE office.