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Candidates crowding the Treasure Island ballot

(ran Beach edition)

Ballots for the city's March 7 election will include seven candidates _ three for the mayor's seat and two in each of the commission districts open this year.

Incumbent Leon Atkinson, Commissioner Allan Sansotta and Sunset Beach resident Alan Bildz are seeking the mayor's office.

Atkinson, the retired founder and owner of Leon's Air Conditioning and Heating, served as a commissioner for District 4 before being elected mayor in 1997. Sansotta, a financial adviser from Sunset Beach, was elected to replace Atkinson when he became mayor. Bildz is a plumber who was a member of the Sunset Beach Five, a group that campaigned last year to secede from Treasure Island in opposition to the commission's long-range plan to spend millions renovating or rebuilding city facilities.

Incumbent Irving "Butch" Ellsworth will be challenged by Isle of Palms attorney John Hadsall in the District 2 race. Ellsworth is the general manager of the John's Pass Marina.

The District 4 job now held by Sansotta is being sought by Sunset Beach residents Barbara Blush and Don Callahan. Blush is a registered nurse and head of the city's beautification committee. Callahan is a retired college professor.

The commission jobs are two-year positions while the mayor serves for three years. Commissioners are paid $5,400 a year and the mayor earns $7,800.

All of the candidates said they plan to participate in a citywide candidates debate scheduled for Feb. 19 at the Treasure Island Community Center. The debate, sponsored by the Treasure Island Voters Watch, is set for 6:30 p.m.

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