Round-up of Tuesday's election results from throughout Pinellas County

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Nine municipalities in Pinellas had voters out to the polls Tuesday. From electing mayors and council members to charter amendments and referendum issues, here are the results: 

Belleair: The Historic Belleview Biltmore’s fate was on the forefront of issues. The opponent, Jim White, lost the race for Town Commission as voters favored incumbents Deputy Mayor Stephen Fowler and Commissioner Michael Wilkinson. Both Fowler and Wilkinson have remained strong advocates for preserving the hotel, as much as possible, while White expressed that he hadn’t reached a conclusion on whether the hotel should be saved.

Unofficial results Tuesday night showed that Fowler received 609 votes, or 34.1 percent of the 1,786 votes cast. Wilkinson got one vote less than Fowler, for 34 percent, and White drew 569 votes, for 31.9 percent.

Belleair Beach: While there were no elections taking place here, two ballot questions were up for vote: 1) Direct the City Council to develop a plan and financing to put utility lines underground—a decision that is nonbinding on elected officials, passed with 56 percent of votes according to unofficial results. 2) Will eliminate the city council’s finance committee—a committee that has not been used since the implementation of a city manager government structure. This item passed with 84 percent of the votes. 

Gulfport: City Council elections were at the center of attention with Ward 1 maintaining the incumbent Councilmember David C. Hastings, defeating challenger Dan Liedtke by seven votes, according to unofficial results. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office announced that a machine recount would be conducted Tuesday to verify results.

Also, Ward 3 incumbent Councilmember Jennifer Salmon was reelected to City Council, receiving 61 percent of the votes, defeating challenger James E. Perry. What won over voters in support of Salmon? It’s no surprise that Salmon’s campaign focusing on developing Gulfport as a “green,” art-focused city would win over local hearts while Perry’s campaign focused on public safety, preserving the city police department and strong criticism of the council’s decisions.

Referendums also were set, including new rules governing how city-owned property can be sold, established the right of candidates to appoint watchers at the polls in future elections, and reduced charter requirements for referendum elections to ratify spending large sums of money. 

Indian Shores: Congratulations are in order for Jim Lawrence, reelected to his third term as mayor, winning an unofficial 55 percent of the votes, beating his opponent John “Teo” Ruscin. 

Madeira Beach: Commissioner Terry Lister returns to the city commission for another term with 63 percent of the votes as opposed to challenger John Anthony. Lister is known as a lone voice of opposition during the recent reorganization of City Hall that lead to the loss of many administrators through resignations and firings. 

Pinellas Park: Patricia Johnson won the city council seat against opponent Eddie Kosinski with a 68 percent victory.

Seminole: This election favored incumbents, returning both Leslie Waters and Patricia Plantamura to City Council with 33 percent of votes and 28 percent, respectively.

Treasure Island: While District 4 Commissioner Alan Bildz was reelected  to city commission with 56 percent of votes, in District 2, challenger and former commissioner Irving S. “Butch” Ellsworth, Jr. defeated incumbent Commissioner Gail Caldwell with 54 percent of votes. 

St. Pete Beach: Congratulations to Lorraine Huhn who with 53 percent of votes defeated incumbent Al Halpern in the District 1 commission race.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.