BB incumbents brush off challenge

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Incumbent Commissioners Ralph Cole and Marilyn Maro high-five Nov. 6 at the Bradenton Beach Volunteer Fire Hall polling place as the results, returning them to office, are posted on the door. The pair stayed off a challenge from Tjet Martin and John Metz. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

The line was drawn in the Bradenton Beach sand.

“There’s a lot going on here,” Brian Finelli, a 30-year Bradenton Beach resident, said on Election Day, Nov. 6, after he cast his ballot. “It’s good to see people out expressing their opinions.”

Voters in Bradenton Beach made their voices heard.

They retained two incumbent commissioners, Ralph Cole and Marilyn Maro.

For the two seats up for grabs on the commission, 282 voted to elect Cole and 242 voted for Maro, while 189 voted for John Metz and 165 voted for Tjet Martin.

“I’m really happy,” Maro said of her win. “It was my first election and I worked really hard for this.”

Maro was appointed to the commission in 2016 when, lacking a candidate for the ballot, she took the seat vacated by Commissioner Ed Straight, who was termed out.

“I’m very happy for Bradenton Beach right now,” Cole said following the election. “I love this place and look forward to doing the best I can to keep things moving ahead.”

After being elected in 2015 and serving his first two-year term, Cole failed to win his bid for a second term in 2017, but was appointed by the commission to fill the seat vacated by John Chappie, who was elected mayor in 2017.

Cole has served as chair of the city’s community redevelopment agency.

“We have so much in the works with the CRA right now that will enhance our town for everyone,” he said. “I’m excited to keep up the work.”

Martin said she is disappointed she was not elected, but she understands it was up to the voters.

“The people have spoken and it was their choice, but I am concerned for the citizenry,” Martin said. “There are lots of projects gearing up. I hope they get it done this time.

Put your money where your mouth is. Do something.”

Metz declined comment.

Of 739 registered voters in Bradenton Beach,

255 cast ballots Nov. 6 at precinct No. 307, the Bradenton Beach Volunteer Fire Hall, 201 Second St. N.

Vote-by-mail ballots numbered 232 and 64 people were early voters.

The total electoral turnout was 74.6 percent.

In the 2014 midterm, 44.69 percent of 763 registered voters cast ballots.

The swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected officials was planned for 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N., at press time for The Islander.

However, a statewide recount of ballots could delay the SOE from certifying the election before Nov. 19 and the swearing-in may need to be delayed.