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Atkinson, Fant win seats in Treasure Island races

Officially, the field Tuesday was full of political first-timers. But the winner in the District 4 commission race said he had been preparing for elected office for years.

Leon Atkinson, 62, beat his two opponents by nearly a 3-to-1 margin. It is a victory that came because he had "been running for this particular position very quietly for longer than the other two candidates have lived on Treasure Island," he said.

The owner of Leon's Air Conditioning and Heating has long been involved in civic and community activities in the beach city.

He said Tuesday night that he planned to resign his position as first vice president of the Chamber of Commerce because it might conflict with his duties as commissioner.

The other two candidates in a race that Atkinson described as "very clean" were Donald Callahan and John Kapili Jr.

In the other city race, incumbent commissioner Julian Fant won his seventh term in a tight race with Irving S. "Butch" Ellsworth Jr.

Ellsworth had run on a platform that urged term limits.

Fant, 62, said Tuesday night that he felt "much, much better."

Fant recently was named manager of the Chamber of Commerce. He said Tuesday there was no need for him to resign because he is a paid staff member rather than a board member and therefore does not set policy. He said if an issue came before the commission that might conflict with his job, he would abstain from voting.

He said he had been expecting a tough race and got one. He credited his victory to hard work and lots of pavement pounding and added that the campaign was more difficult because his district included new areas.

Commissioners serve two-year terms and earn $300 a month. About 41 percent of the city's registered voters turned out for the election.