5 qualify in BB race; 2 incumbents, 3 challengers

Bradenton Beach electors will have five options in November for two seats on the dais.

The qualifying period for the Nov. 6 municipal election ended June 22, with two incumbents and three challengers qualifying in the commission race.

Terms are up for Commissioners Ralph Cole and Marilyn Maro. Both are seeking another term in office.

They are being joined on the November ballot by former P&Z members John Metz and Bill Vincent and former Scenic Waves Partnership Committee chair Tjet Martin.

Martin ran for a commission seat in 2014, but was defeated by Jan Vosburgh.

Vincent lost his bid for a commission seat in 2016 to now-Mayor John Chappie.

Cole will conclude a one-year term in November. After serving his first two-year term, Cole lost re-election to Randy White in 2017, but was appointed to fill the partial term vacated by Chappie when he was elected mayor in November 2017.

“Our job is to keep things running smoothly and make sure everything is transparent,” Cole said June 13.

He cited a good 2016-17 fiscal year audit as an example of the city’s success, saying when he was elected in 2015, the city was “lacking stability.”

Maro also is running for election. She was among two candidates considered by commissioners for a vacant seat in 2016, which resulted in a tie vote and a card draw that she won with an ace.

As liaison to Scenic Waves, Maro said she is “excited” to continue working on the parks.

Metz said he is running to put “residents first.”

According to Metz, “nobody is running the show” at city hall, with the commission’s favor slanting toward commercial interests.

Martin said in her 15 years in the city she has seen the city pay for studies, including traffic, but the results just sit “gathering dust on a shelf.”

“I want to dust off the shelf and get things done,” Martin said June 22. “There are changes to be made and work to do and I will make sure they are not just talked about, but completed.”

The two candidates with the most votes will take seats on the dais.

Bradenton Beach is the only city on Anna Maria Island with term limits, restricting commissioners and the mayor to three consecutive two-year terms.

The first campaign finance deadline for the November election is July 10.

The final day to register to vote in the Nov. 6. election is Oct. 9.

Of 744 registered voters in Bradenton Beach, 387 people voted in the November 2017 municipal election.