Surprise: Holmes Beach elects newcomer
The Holmes Beach City Commission will change come Nov. 17 with one member of the "old guard" out and newcomer Patrick Morton, who says to remember his name like the popular brand of salt, as a result of the Nov. 4 city election.
Even as a longtime city commissioner, former mayor and proprietor of the popular Duffy's Tavern, Pat Geyer was the low vote getter in the election. Incumbent Commissioners Rich Bohnenberger and Don Maloney were returned for another two-year term yesterday by city voters.
The vote at the precinct was close, with Morton ahead of Geyer by only 12 votes, 500 to 488. The addition of absentee votes at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office added to the winners totals with the top three vote getters the same.
Bohnenberger led all Holmes Beach candidates with 631 votes, while Maloney garnered 606 and Morton received 556 total votes. Geyer had 537 votes, including absentees.
Morton, in his first-ever election for public office, said before the results were announced that "win or not, I've got a few things I want to stay involved with."
After it looked like he could be the winner, pending the outcome of the absentee votes, he said he would "hang in there for the count."
Morton canvassed neighborhoods and said he talked to lots of folks looking for change. "It's a great process and I was glad to be part of it," he said.
Geyer said, "Eh."
And what will she do without commission meetings to look forward to? "I'll take a year off and do something next year. Maybe mayor. I've got a year to really work on it."
Maloney, who was with Geyer at Duffy's, said, "I just hope that I can fulfill the trust that the voters have once again placed in me.
"I'm shocked" about Geyer. "I can't believe the other guy beat her, but I don't know that maybe people want some change. It really upsets me, but I'm convinced that now I can support Pat for mayor next year."
Bohnenberger said, "I'm just please the voters gave me another opportunity and evidently they were pleased with my past performance. I look forward to another term."
The total number of votes cast was 2,330, including 72 absentee ballots, and representing just 27.48 of the 3,396 eligible voters in Holmes Beach.
Poll worker Mary Kowalski said the turnout was steady all day. "I brought a crossword puzzle, but didn't get to fill in the first word."
There were 829 voters who made it to the precinct to vote in person, and Kowalski said one voter showed up "all fired up" because he mistakenly went to St. Bernard Catholic Church. St. Bernard is a polling location for Holmes Beach voters in county, state and federal elections, but not for the city election.
"He did get to vote," she added.