NEW PORT RICHEY — Mayor Rob Marlowe will keep his seat for another three years after a resounding victory Tuesday over challenger Ed Beckman.
It will be the second term as mayor for Marlowe, 63, who previously served on the New Port Richey City Council for six years. Marlowe pointed to the progress he and the council have made in the past three years as the reason why he was re-elected.
On the campaign trail, he touted the money pumped into improvements at Sims Park, which now teems with families; the stabilization of the historic Hacienda Hotel; creating a redevelopment environment that has netted 30 new businesses downtown; and a booming urban agriculture movement in the city.
"I am just ecstatic that the voters have supported what I have managed to get started over the last three years," Marlowe said. "I'm going to do my best to live up to their faith in me."
Marlowe appeared to be in for a tough battle Tuesday night as Beckman — a retired major with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office who received a ceremonial promotion to colonel upon retirement — more than doubled the incumbent's campaign contributions, pulling in a record-setting $12,000.
It was a large amount for a municipal election. Marlowe was also the subject of a flier calling for his ouster from a Tallahassee political action committee that hit mailboxes the weekend before the election.
The votes, however, swung heavily in favor of Marlowe, who grabbed 56 percent of the vote compared with Beckman's 43 percent, garnering 900 votes to Beckman's 687 out of the 1,587 cast. That's according to the results reported by the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections.
Pasco's only other municipal election took place on the other side of the county in San Antonio, where a mayor narrowly fell short of re-election. Incumbent Mayor Tim Newlon lost his seat by seven votes in a three-candidate race for two seats on the San Antonio City Commission.
Incumbent City Commissioner Mark Anderson easily held on to his seat by getting nearly 42 percent of the vote. The mayor's race was won by political newcomer James Markley, who barely edged Newlon, getting 29 percent of the vote to the incumbent's 28 percent, a margin of 149 votes to 142.
Some residents had called for Newlon to resign after a December incident in which the mayor was thrown out of a local bar.