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Date of Issue: November 11, 2005

Holmes Beach: Zaccagnino win zings Maloney

AM Election Pic
Holmes Beach candidates for city commission, from left, David Zaccagnino holding daughter Sela, Pat Morton, Don Maloney and Rich Bohnenberger waited at the poll for the results of the Tuesday election, which were posted at approximately 7:20 p.m. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

Political newcomer David Zaccagnino scored a political upset in the race for the three Holmes Beach city commission seats up for election yesterday, leading all four candidates with 742 votes, while longtime Commissioner Don Maloney was defeated in his bid for a fifth consecutive term.

Incumbents Rich Bohenberger and Patrick Morton were returned to the commission with 679 and 600 votes respectively, while Maloney garnered 502 votes.

Turnout was light among the Holmes Beach electorate as just 29 percent of the city's 3,406 registered voters took to the polls. Veteran political analysts say that generally, voter turnout is higher during an even-numbered year, particularly if it's a presidential election such as in 2004.

In the non-binding referendum on consolidation on the ballot, voters agreed that the city should pursue "studies" to determine if Island consolidation is feasible. The referendum passed, 634 to 339, a 65 percent favorable vote.

The question, however, is largely moot as the Anna Maria City Commission declined to place the referendum language on its ballot.

This was Zaccagnino's second effort at a commission seat.

"I'm very happy at the results. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I'd like to thank everyone who came out and voted. I'm ready to let the public be our customer. I'm really looking forward to serving on the commission," he said.

He attributed much of his success to his door-to-door and telephone campaigning, which made voters aware of the issues facing the city.

Maloney was gracious in defeat, thanking the voters for allowing him to serve for five terms.

"That's OK," he said. "I've had my time on the commission."

Bohnenberger will be serving his sixth term following two years as mayor.

"I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me, and everyone who voted. We are clearly moving in the right direction and the voters have given me their support."

Morton also thanked those who had returned him to office for his second term.

"It was a good race. I'm looking forward to a second term. We have a good commission and there's a lot of work ahead."

The organizational meeting and swearing-in ceremony for the new commission will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21.