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Curtis Holmes edges past Rodney Woods in Largo election

After thanking everyone and giving his concession speech, Rodney Woods hugs longtime supporter Merry Shaske Tuesday night at the Largo Golf Course. Woods says he plans to stay involved.

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

After thanking everyone and giving his concession speech, Rodney Woods hugs longtime supporter Merry Shaske Tuesday night at the Largo Golf Course. Woods says he plans to stay involved.

In a neck and neck race, City Hall critic Curtis Holmes unseated incumbent Commissioner Rodney Woods.

The election capped off a quiet, but contentious campaign for Seat 3 on the City Commission.

Holmes, 60, who claimed about 51 percent of the vote, refused to have his photograph taken during a victory party Tuesday night at the Thirsty Marlin Grill and Bar on West Bay Drive. He also declined comment.

Woods, elected in 2006, said he planned to stay involved with the city, whether it be on an advisory board or supporting the Greater Largo Library Foundation.

"I don't plan to be going anywhere," said Woods, 52, who was joined by four city commissioners, including the mayor, at an election get-together at the Largo Golf Course. "If nothing else, I'll be an honorary commissioner until I get re-elected."

Holmes and Woods have had a history of conflict, much of it spurred by Holmes' criticism of Woods.

During the campaign, Woods, emphasized his experience, his support of city goals and his ability to work with other city leaders.

Holmes stressed his "out of the box" thinking and offered a variety of ideas that he said would save the city money and make Largo run more efficiently.

For much of the day, there was a trickle of voters at most of Largo's seven polling places.

Largo voter Bob Lases, 75, who cast his ballot at the Highland Recreation Complex, merely said: "I want a change."

Two city unions, the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Communications Workers of America, backed Woods, but both endorsements came late in the race. Woods was informed of the firefighter's union support on Friday, he said.

Amanda Tisch, who has lived in Largo four years, said this is the first time she cast a ballot in the city and she chose Woods.

"He just stood out as a strong leader that would look out for this little town that we love," said Tisch, 29.

A small majority, about 53 percent of Largo's voters supported an amendment to the City Charter that will shorten the election qualifying period from 60 to 15 days.

Almost 14 percent of Largo's 44,800 registered voters cast ballots. More than 10 percent did so by mail.

Curtis Holmes edges past Rodney Woods in Largo election 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 9:49pm]
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