More than 39 percent of Pinellas County’s 477,635 registered voters participated in the March 11 special District 13 and 12 municipal elections, which is “very good,” according to Nancy Whitlock, Elections Administrator.
Whitlock said Election Day was “very smooth.”
“We had no real issues that I know of. There were no lines,” she said. “Voting went at a steady pace throughout the day.”
One race of special interest was choosing a new U.S. Representative for District 13 to replace C.W. “Bill” Young, who died Oct. 18. Young served Pinellas in Congress for nearly 43 years.
Municipalities conducting elections included Belleair Bluffs, Clearwater, Gulfport, Indian Shores, Kenneth City, Madeira Beach, Pinellas Park, Redington Shores, Safety Harbor, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach and Tarpon Springs. All municipalities are within Congressional District 13 except Tarpon Springs
According to a fact sheet from the Elections Office, 477,635 registered voters were eligible to take part in the District 13 special election as well as 12 municipal elections. Of that number, 460,600 could vote in the District 13 election – 170,565 Republicans (37 percent), 159,213 Democrats (34.6 percent), and 130,822 registered as minor party or no party affiliation (28.4 percent).
Early voting ended Sunday evening with 5,520 ballots cast. At of close of business Monday, another 122,558 had voted by mail ballot, which was 60.9 percent of 201,369 distributed.
Unofficial results District 13 – special election
After nearly five months without representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, voters in Pinellas County’s District 13 selected Republican David Jolly to take the position left vacant when C.W. “Bill” Young died Oct. 18.
Young, a Republican, served District 13 for nearly 43 years.
Jolly, 41, faced Democrat Alex Sink, 65, and Libertarian Lucas Overby, 27, in the March 11 special election. Write-in candidate Michael S. Levinson also qualified to run in the hotly contested election.
Jolly will serve an eight-month term.
Sink took an early lead with just over 48 percent, as unofficial results were posted at the Supervisor of Elections website soon after the polls closed at 7 p.m. But, Jolly quickly took over the lead with just over 48 percent and held on until all 225 precincts were counted. Overby chipped in with almost 5 percent, and the write-in candidate received less than 1 percent.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Jolly garnered 88,294 votes, 48.43 percent. Sink took in 84,877 votes, 46.56 percent. Overby received 8,799 votes, 4.83 percent and the write-in candidate received 325 votes, less than 1 percent.
According to Elections Administrator Nancy Whitlock, counts from the provisional ballots still have to be added. The unofficial results also do not contain all mail ballots or 10-day overseas ballots.
Official election results cannot be certified until votes from the 10-day overseas ballots are added to unofficial results, and the earliest that can occur is the 10th day after the election. The deadline to certify official election results is noon on the 12th day after the election.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, four candidates have already announced intentions to run for the District 13 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in November.
Two Republicans, John-Michael Fleig of St. Pete Beach and Frederick Preston Thomson of Clearwater are listed “active” as are Democrat Donald Warren Hackett Jr. of Largo and independent Michael S. Levinson of St. Petersburg.
A primary election is scheduled for Aug. 26. The general election is on Nov. 4.
Unofficial results – Belleair Bluffs municipal election
The incumbents will keep their seats on the Belleair Bluffs Commission after the March 11 Municipal Election. Joe Barkley will serve a fourth term and Taylour Shimkus will return for a third term. They defeated challenger George Lawton, who also ran unsuccessfully for a commission seat in 2013.
According to the unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Barkley received 428 votes, 36.36 percent. Shimkus took in 406 votes, 34.49 percent. Lawton received 343 votes, 29.14 percent. A total of 1,177 voters participated. Belleair Bluff voters had returned 64.9 percent of 676 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Twenty-eight cast their ballots during early voting.
Unofficial results – Clearwater municipal election
Incumbent Bill Jonson will keep Seat 4 on the Clearwater Council. He will be joined by newcomer Hoyt Hamilton in Seat 5. Jonson was challenged by David Allbritton and Konrad McCree Jr. in the March 11 Municipal Election. Hoyt Hamilton and Jon-Paul Rosa competed for Seat 5 vacated by Paul Gibson due to term limits.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Jonson received 9,509 votes, 43.35 percent. Allbritton garnered 9,132 votes, 41.63 percent. McCree took in 3,294 votes, 15.02 percent. Hamilton came out on top for Seat 5 with 13,834 votes, 63.33 percent, to Rosa's with 8,011 votes, 36.67 percent. A total of 21,935 voted in the race for Seat 4 and 21,845 for Seat 5. Clearwater voters had returned 57.1 percent of 28,298 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Another 976 took advantage of early voting.
Unofficial results – Gulfport municipal election
Yolanda Roman defeated Paul Ray in the race for councilmember Ward III in Gulfport. Roman will replace incumbent Jennifer Salmon, who has served since 2010. Roman received 2,109 votes, 58.7 percent of the 3,594 votes cast. Ray took in 1,484 votes, 41.3 percent.
Unofficial results – Indian Shores municipal election
Two new faces will join the Indian Shores Council - Patrick Soranno and either Michael “Mike” Petruccelli or Diantha Schear.
According to unofficial results posted at the Supervisor of Elections website, only one vote separates Petruccelli and Schear. The counts do not include provisional ballots and only a partial count of mail ballots.
According to Elections Administrator Nancy Whitlock, results in which a candidate is defeated by less than ½ percent require a recount. Results closer than a ¼ percent require a manual recount. The state will tell the county if a recount is necessary.
Voters had three new names to choose from during the March 11 Municipal Election after Indian Shores Councilors Carole Irelan and Steve Sutch retired.
Patrick Soranno garnered 332 votes, 34.62 percent. Michael “Mike” Petruccelli received 314 votes, 32.74 percent. Diantha Schear brought in 313 votes, 32.64 percent.
A total of 959 voters took part in the election. Indian Shores voters had returned 66.1 percent of 563 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Fifteen cast their ballots during early voting.
Unofficial results – Kenneth City municipal election
The Kenneth City Council will welcome two newcomers after incumbent Philip Redisch was defeated in the March 11 election. Barbara Roberts took in the most, 584 votes, 36.05 percent. Ellen DalBo was second with 533 votes, 32.96 percent. Redisch received 501, 30.98 percent.
Unofficial results – Madeira Beach municipal election
No changes are coming to the Madeira Beach Commission. Voters decided March 11 to keep their mayor and the District 2 commissioner. Mayor Travis Palladeno defeated challenger Victor A. Cucaro to keep his job. Incumbent Nancy Hodges took in the majority of the vote against William J. Wright.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Palladeno received 1,110 votes, 84.14 percent. Cucaro garnered 275 votes, 19.96 percent.
In the race for District 2 commissioner, Hodges took in 791 votes, 73.01 percent. Wright received 359 votes, 26.99 percent.
A total of 1,385 voted in the mayor's race, and 1,330 cast a ballot for Hodges or Wright. Madeira Beach voters had returned 63.4 percent of 1,230 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Twenty-two took advantage of early voting.
Unofficial results – Pinellas Park municipal election
Incumbent Patricia F. Johnson will keep her seat on the Pinellas Park Council for another term. Voters made their choice during the March 11, picking between Johnson, newcomer Eugene Hendry and the city’s Public Utilities Director Keith Sabiel.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Johnson was on top with 4,660 votes, 51.49 percent. Sabiel came in second with 3.509 votes, 38.77 percent. Hendry received 882 votes, 9.74 percent.
Results show that 9,051 took part in the March 11 municipal election. Pinellas Park voters had returned 56.8 percent of 11,324 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Another 243 cast their ballot during early voting.
Unofficial results – Redington Shores municipal election
A newcomer will join the Redington Shores Commission. Mary Beth Henderson defeated incumbent Casey Wojcik for District 3 in the March 11 municipal election.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Henderson received 140 votes, 63.93 percent. Wojcik brought in 79 votes, 36.07 percent. Result show that 219 voted in the municipal election. Redington Shores voters had returned 75.6 percent of 193 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Another six cast their ballot during early voting.
Unofficial results – Safety Harbor municipal election
It appears that Safety Harbor has elected a new mayor, as well as two new commissioners. Voters favored former mayor Andy Steingold in the March 11 municipal election, as well as newcomers Andy Zodrow and Carlos Diaz.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Steingold received 2,676 votes, 44.8 percent compared to 2,589, 43.35 percent for the incumbent Joe Ayoub. Former commissioner Nancy J. Besore picked up 708 votes, 11.85 percent.
In the race for commissioner Seat 3, Zodrow received 3,244 votes, 59.62 percent. Dean Harmeson garnered 2,197 votes, 40.38 percent. Carlos Diaz took in 2,865 votes, 51.45 percent for Seat 4. Ray R. Irwin received 2,703, 48.55 percent.
Unofficial results – South Pasadena municipal election
South Pasadena voters decided to keep both incumbents during the March 11 election. Incumbent Arthur Penny garnered the most favor with 1,034 votes, 36.54 percent. Incumbent Max V. Elson came in second with 724 votes, 25.58 percent. Robert F. Small picked up 541 votes, 19.12 percent, and Harris Blair received 531 votes, 18.76 percent.
Unofficial results – St. Pete Beach municipal election
Three newcomers will lead the city of St. Pete Beach. The city's voters elected a new mayor and two new commissioners during the March 11 municipal election.
Maria Lowe defeated incumbent Steve McFarlin to take over the mayor's job. Terri Finnerty defeated incumbent Lorraine Huhn for the District 1 commission seat. Gregory Premer took in the most votes against fellow newcomer James Anderson for the District 3 seat held by Ward Friszolowski, who served as interim commissioner after Marvin Shavlan moved outside the city.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, in the mayor’s race, Lowe received 2,047 votes, 52.41 percent. McFarlin took in 1,859 votes, 47.59 percent.
In the race for District 1 commissioner, Finnerty received 460 votes, 51.34 percent. Huhn garnered 436 votes, 48.66 percent. Premer took in the most votes, 547, or 54.43 percent for the District 3 seat. Anderson received 458 votes, 45.57 percent.
St. Pete Beach voters cast 3,906 votes in the mayor’s race, 896 for commissioner District 1 and 1,005 for commissioner District 3. Voters had returned 72.8 percent of 1,634 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Thirty-three took advantage of early voting. In the race for District 1, 71.5 percent of 854 mail ballots distributed were returned, and 20 voted early. In District 3, 71.4 percent of 923 mail ballots were returned as of March 10 and 19 took advantage of early voting.
Unofficial results – Tarpon Springs
Voters elected Rea Sieber to Seat 2 on the Tarpon Springs Commission during the March 11 municipal election. Sieber takes over for Vice Mayor Susan Slattery, who retired after reaching her two-term limit.
According to unofficial results posted on the Supervisor of Elections website, Sieber came out on top with 1,773 votes, 44.94 percent. Joe Muzio received 1,144 votes, 29 percent. Chris Hrabovsky took in 1,028 votes, 26.06 percent.
Voters overwhelmingly said yes by nearly 95 percent to a referendum question to decide the fate of the city’s sale of surplus property located at 501 S. Walton Ave.
Harry Burnard of Qualified Property Management in New Port Richey wants to buy the building and turn it into an assisted living facility for people with Alzheimer’s disease. The Burnard Group expects the facility to create about 100 jobs that would earn a combined $1 million in annual salaries.
The city estimates the property will bring in $50,000 per year in property taxes, as well as $813,000 in revenue from the one-time sale and whatever development and building fees the Burnard Group accumulates.
A total of 3,945 voted in the race for commissioner Seat 2 and 3,909 answered the referendum question. Tarpon Springs voters had returned 44.1 percent of 6,274 mail ballots requested as of March 10. Twenty-one cast their ballots during early voting.
Tarpon Springs voters did not take part on the special election. The city is located in District 12.