Holmes Beach candidates prime campaigns for Election Day

By Ryan Paice and Kathy Prucnell

Islander Reporters

Election Day on Anna Maria Island is days away.

Candidates and their supporters are sporting political signs on vehicles and alongside the roadways, looking to draw votes in the Nov. 6 elections.

Holmes Beach is particularly competitive with a two-way mayoral race and three candidates vying for two Holmes Beach commission seats — as well as eight candidates seeking five spots on the charter commission review board.

Judy Holmes Titsworth and Josh Linney, both with Holmes Beach roots, are in contention for the mayor’s spot.

Titsworth, 55, is a three-term commissioner, with five years as commission chair, and a lifelong resident. She is the granddaughter of Holmes Beach namesake Jack Holmes Sr. and works with husband at their business, Shoreline Builders of Southwest Florida LLC of Holmes Beach. She has been married to Steve for 35 years, has three children and three grandchildren.

As of Oct. 12, Titsworth’s campaign reported $3,375 in contributions, including $500 from the Realtors PAC of Orlando, $250 each from Ronald Travis of Bradenton, Hugh Holmes and Chris McNamara of Holmes Beach and $1,500 in loans from herself.

Linney, 43, a political newcomer, raised $1,464.91 as of Oct. 12, including several loans from himself.

He served a year on the Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee. He is married to Harper Kallins-Linney, and he lives on disability compensation from Veteran Affairs and volunteers as an information technology consultant.

On the brink of the election, Titsworth couldn’t point to “the most important issue” the city is facing — but insisted there were many.

An immediate concern is the more than $24 million in Bert Harris claims and lawsuits, she said.

To Titsworth, other important issues include Spring Lake pollution, stormwater problems, sea-level rise and a possible change to a city manager form of government recommended by a citizen’s advisory committee, including some members who vying for the charter review board.

Titsworth is confident she will find solutions through professional assistance, her background and experience.

“None of them are that huge of a challenge. Everything can be handled,” she said.

Linney said the most pressing concern he’s heard on the campaign trail is the need for a full-time leader due to the $16 million budget and a lack of response at city hall.

As mayor, he’d work to transition the new city manager, if it becomes a reality, and collaborate with professionals and other experts in the community.

“The biggest thing I noticed walking around is most people are concerned about the inability to get building permits, or excess policing,” among other issues, but all felt “they can’t bring their problems to city hall.”

Both candidates vow to be full-time mayors.

Voters will choose two candidates from political newcomers Don Purvis and Kim Rash and incumbent Commissioner Pat Morton for the commission.

Morton, 69, is a Morgantown, West Virginia, native and 22-year Holmes Beach resident. He has served on the commission 15 years and is seeking his eighth term.

According to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections, Morton raised $990 in campaign contributions — $200 of which he self-funded. He collected campaign funds from two individuals: $40 from Lynne Budzinski of Bradenton Beach and $250 from Ronald Travis of Bradenton.

Morton also received two contributions from businesses, including $200 from Holmes Beach-based Shoreline Builders of Southwest Florida and $300 from Beach Bistro.

Purvis, 43, is a board member of the Center of Anna Maria Island and owner of Beach House Real Estate. He was born and raised in New Orleans and went from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale in high school. Purvis settled in Holmes Beach in 2010.

As of Oct. 24, Purvis collected $3,700 in campaign contributions from 13 sources, including $1,250 from himself. Three businesses contributed to his campaign, including $100 from Clearwater law firm Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, $250 from Anna Maria-based Duncan Real Estate and $500 from  a Bradenton-based contractor, Johnson Homes.

Purvis’ campaign also raised funds from nine individuals — his mother Betty Purvis of Holmes Beach, William Keel, Charles Buky, Andrew Terman, Andrew Christman, Jason Bartz and Mondher Kobrosly, all of Bradenton, as well as Bill Shuman and Charles Connor of Holmes Beach.

He received $254.86 in in-kind contributions, including $50 from Beverly Lesnick of Holmes Beach and $204.86 from the Waterfront Restaurant in Anna Maria.

Purvis said he would resign from the center board if elected to avoid any sort of conflict of interest.

Rash, 64, was born in Louisville and raised in Kentucky, moving to Holmes Beach 17 years ago after visiting the island for 22 years.

He owns and manages rental properties in Kentucky and Florida, and owns the Kentucky-based Kimberly Rash Fencing and Construction.

As of Oct. 24, Rash had raised $5,200 in campaign contributions from 24 individuals, including $1,600 from himself.

Rash also received $34.72 in in-kind contributions, including $25 from Melissa Rash and $9.72 from Bill and Maria DiMenna of Holmes Beach.

The two top votegetters will serve two-year terms and will be paid $500 a month.

As of Oct. 25, there were 2,810 registered voters in Holmes Beach, of which 1,052 vote-by-mail ballots were requested and 515 have been returned, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.

Polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at precinct 303, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, and precinct 305, St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 Harbor Drive S.

City clerk Stacey Johnston is the city’s election official, and said Holmes Beach contracts with the county on even-year elections to handle the polls, including provisional ballot counting and canvassing.

Unless a recount is necessitated by a close election, Johnston said the Holmes Beach election winners will be sworn in at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at city hall, 5408 Marina Drive.