Challengers Unseat Incumbents in Gulfport, St. Pete Beach

The unofficial results of the presidential preference primary and municipal elections held March 17 resulted in Gulfport and St. Pete Beach voters favoring municipal challengers over incumbents for council and commission seats.

Based on Pinellas County Supervisor of Election results as of March 18 at 4:30 a.m., Gulfport voters selected challenger April Thanos over incumbent Councilmember Dan Liedtke for the Ward 1 city council seat. In St. Pete Beach, voters awarded challenger Christopher Graus the District 1 city commission seat over incumbent Commissioner Terri Finnerty, who is also the vice mayor.

Thanos earned 59.81 percent of the vote compared to Liedtke with 40.19 percent. A total of 2,214 people voted for Thanos while 1,488 chose Liedtke.

Incumbent Councilmember Paul Ray, who is also the vice mayor, ran unopposed for the Ward 3 Gulfport City Council seat and won by default.

As part of her winning speech, Thanos said, “I’m so grateful to the people of Gulfport who in spite of the coronavirus came out to vote. I can’t wait to serve.”

In summarizing her feelings of winning during her election watch party at her home, she said, “I’m excited and relieved.”

Thanos ran for council for the first time four years ago in 2016 and challenged incumbent Liedtke, who at that time won.

“I’m thankful for the eight years of service I was able to contribute to my community,” said Liedtke. “I think we accomplished a lot as I look back and I’m pretty happy with what we did as a team.”

Graus earned 55.59 percent of the vote compared to Finnerty with 44.41 percent. A total of 408 people voted for Graus while 326 chose Finnerty.

In Gulfport’s non-partisan election, candidates run based on their residential ward number and voters cast ballots citywide. In St. Pete Beach’s non-partisan election, candidates run based on their residential district number and voters cast ballots citywide. Council and commission members in both cities serve two-year terms.

For additional information about Pinellas County elections, visit votepinellas.com.

Presidential Preference Primary Results

Florida is a closed primary state meaning only voters who are registered with the Republican or Democratic parties can participate in a presidential preference primary election.

In Pinellas County, President Donald J. Trump was the choice of registered Republicans with 90.90 percent of their vote while Democrats favored Joe Biden at 55.43 percent followed in second place by Bernie Sanders with 25.16 percent.

County-level voter turnout was 36.75 percent and a total of 544,401 people were registered to vote. Of these, 240,133 are registered Republicans while 249,208 are registered Democrats.

Statewide, Biden won 130 Democratic delegates in Florida in addition to wins in Arizona and Illinois. A candidate needs 1,991 total delegates to win the party’s nomination. Biden is currently leading Sanders as they both vie for the nomination.

According to estimates by CNN in a March 18 report, Biden will need to win 47 percent of the remaining delegates while Sanders must have 57.9 percent to secure the nomination, which is a near mathematical impossibility.

Going into Tuesday’s Florida primary, Trump was near the 1,276 total he needed to secure the Republican nomination. He won 122 delegates in Florida and 149 in Illinois. The winning candidate in both states receives all of the delegates. Trump is now the party’s presumptive nominee with a current delegate total of 1,330.

Ohio postponed its March 17 primary after declaring a public health emergency related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

South Pasadena Charter Amendments Results

A total of 10 charter amendments were on the ballot and voters approved all of them.

Amendment 1 asked voters to revise the term limits of city commissioners from three- to four-year terms and it was the closest split with 834 voters or 50.76 percent choosing “yes” while 809 voters or 49.24 percent selected “no.”

For content details of all amendments, visit votepinellas.com/Election-Information/Elections/Current-Upcoming-Elections1/2020-March-Municipal-Elections/South-Pasadena-Charter-Amendments. For details regarding unofficial results, visit enr.votepinellas.com/FL/Pinellas/102199/Web02.245501 and use the button at the bottom of the page for loading results.

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