Most significant of these local races was George Cretekos winning the Mayor’s office in Clearwater. Cretekos beat out political newcomer Christine Marketos-Cuomo in Tuesday’s election, which saw less than 17,000 people make a choice at the polls for the city’s future leader.
More than 11,200 people sent in mail ballots or cast early votes in Clearwater. There were only about 6,000 who came out on election day.
Cretekos, who worked for many years for Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young and on the City Council, has two weeks to prepare for his next challenge.
“I’m ready to get to work,” Cretekos said.
Clearwater residents also voted against two changes to the city charter that included adding time council members serve on the City Council and the time between charter reviews.
Teresa Zemaitis on Tuesday won her second term as Mayor of Kenneth City, easily defeating her opponent, Council member Joanne DeSimone.
Zemaitis won with about 57 percent of the 901 votes that were cast, according to unofficial results from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.
In a pair of City Commission races in Safety Harbor, Cliff Merz defeated Mary Williams and incumbent Nancy Besore held off Elise Vinson.
Voters in St. Pete Beach rejected two city commission candidates who favor slower growth, but the winner of one of the commission races will not be known for more than a month.
Only 66 votes separated the two top candidates in the District 1 race with challenger Lorraine Huhn getting the most votes — 40 percent, to incumbent Al Halpern’s 32 percent. Candidate Deb Edney came in third, reported Anne Lindberg.
Another incumbent Marvin Shavlan captured 54% of the vote against challenger Brooke Anderson.
Nearly 70 percent of Temple Terrace voters cast their ballots in favor of a city referendum to give property tax exemptions to new and expanding businesses.
“I think (the results are) indicative of our residents,” said City Manager Kim Leinbach. “I think they’re progressively minded.”