Pinellas elections: Madeira Beach voters elect opponents of redevelopment efforts

In Madeira Beach, three opponents of redevelopment will replace incumbents.
Published March 15 2017
Updated March 15 2017

Madeira Beach voters ousted all three incumbent city commissioners Tuesday, a shakeup that signals a shift away from redevelopment in that beach town. It was one of 10 elections that took place across Pinellas County.

The election of Margaret Black for mayor, Nancy T. Oakley for District 3 commissioner and John E. Douthirt for District 4 commissioner clouds the future of two controversial downtown hotel projects in Madeira Beach. This new crop of leaders ran together as a ticket aimed at fighting redevelopment and maintaining the city's identity as a residential fishing community.

Black took about 55 percent of the vote in the mayor's race while Oakley and Douthirt won 61 percent and 55 percent in their respective races.

The results from the other nine municipal elections:

Gulfport: Incumbent City Council member Christine Anne Brown soundly defeated her mostly absent opponent, Linda Bailey, with 81 percent of the vote in Ward 2, which covers the southeast part of the city. In Ward 4, incumbent Michael Fridovich overcame critics who said he did little to improve the northeast quadrant of the city.

Indian Rocks Beach: Voters chose to keep one incumbent city commissioner and oust another. Phil Hanna will stick around, joined by Philip M. Wrobel, who earned the most votes of the four candidates — 577, or about 31 percent. Incumbent Terry Hamilton-Wollin came in last, with just under 20 percent of the vote.

North Redington Beach: Incumbent City Commissioner Richard L. Bennett will keep the Seat 1 Commission job he has held since 2003, defeating opponent Jeff Busch with about 58 percent of the vote.

Redington Shores: Jeffery C. Neal defeated Jason E. Schrimsher with 74 percent of the vote for the District 2 commission seat.

Safety Harbor: A former mayor is returns to the post after Joe Ayoub beat out Commissioner Janet L. Hooper with about 66 percent of the vote. On the commission, Scott Long edged out former commissioner Nancy J. Besore by just 49 votes for Seat 1. Incumbent Carlos Diaz will stick around in Seat 4 after defeating challenger Luanne Lambert. All candidates said they were in favor of developing downtown and Main Street.

South Pasadena: Lifelong civic servant Gigi Esposito — formerly Gigi Arntzen — and political newcomer David Magenheimer will serve as commissioners after they won over 46 percent and 36 percent of voters, respectively. They soundly defeated Dan Calabria, a controversial former mayor who was vying for a comeback.

St. Pete Beach: Alan Johnson will serve as the city's next mayor, defeating interim Mayor Deborah Schechner and opponent John-Michael Fleig with 61 percent of the vote.

Tarpon Springs: Jacob Karr defeated former Mayor Frank DiDonato and Tim Keffalas in the race for City Commission Seat 1 with about 46 percent of the vote. Karr said he plans to focus on improving infrastructure and working with the county to address roadway issues.

Treasure Island: In an election where development and the potential reinstatement of a bridge toll were the hot-button issues, voters ousted the incumbents and welcomed newcomers to the City Commission. Deborah Lynn Toth beat Phil Collins for District 1 with about 53 percent of the vote, joined by Ralph D. Kennedy in District 3, who beat Patrick "Pat" Jeffares with about 64 percent of the vote.

Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or Follow @kathrynvarn.

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