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Dan Liedtke wins re-election in Gulfport Ward 1

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

By a margin of fewer than 100 votes, Gulfport City Council member Dan Liedtke barely won re-election to his Ward 1 seat against April Thanos. Liedtke has served on City Council for four years and worked as a business and information technology consultant for the last 20 years. He’s held jobs in both the private and public sector.

Liedtke won with 2,201 votes, or just under 51 percent, compared to Thanos, who earned 2,140 votes, a little over 49 percent. Although the numbers are relatively small, they are more than one percent, not enough to trigger a recount.

Liedtke won despite being outraised by Thanos. Thanos raised nearly $15,000 while Liedtke brought in just $3,700.

The matchup was an interesting one. Even though the race is nonpartisan, it’s well-known that Liedtke is a prominent Republican and Thanos a progressive Democrat. Thanos enjoyed party money from groups like the Stonewall Democrats as well as some funding from Congressional candidate Eric Lynn as well as other high-profile Democrats.

Liedtke didn’t appear to be making much of an effort to raise money instead relying on name recognition and experience. On Election Day, he drove around in an old truck with his campaign signs attached waving at voters.

Thanos is a regular at City Council meetings and a regular volunteer in the community. Thanos moved to Gulfport from Seattle, Washington, where she served as a program and events manager for the local Chamber of Commerce.

Before that, she worked in a similar capacity for a private company doing nonprofit management.

The Clam Bayou sewage dump August has been a huge talking point during this election. Liedtke has been a vocal opponent to the Rick Kriseman administration as a result of the dump and was likely able to hold onto some support from the environmental community based on that.

Vice Mayor Yolanda Roman was also up for re-election this year, but she did not draw a challenger.

Liedtke will be sworn in for his third term at the board’s next meeting in April along with mayor Sam Henderson who won re-election against Barbara Banno in Tuesday’s election.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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