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Date of Issue: July 09, 2008

Two candidates campaign for ward seat

William Shearon and Robert Bartelt are running for the Ward 4 seat on Bradenton Beach's city commission, promising low-key but substantive campaigns.

The qualifying period for the election closed at noon July 3.

In Ward 2, incumbent Bob Connors, of Avenue B, will not face any opponent and he retains his commission seat.

The municipal contest in Ward 4 will be decided in the Nov. 4 general election, which also will include the race for the White House and the local congressional district seat, among other contests.

Bartelt, who lives on Church Avenue, serves on the advisory ScenicWAVES Committee and is active in boating organizations.

The candidate moved to the Island eight years ago after retiring from a 33-year career with the fire department in Milwaukee, where he also taught emergency medical services at the Milwaukee Area Technical School.

"I just really wanted to get involved in city politics," Bartelt said of his reason for running. "I really love Bradenton Beach. And I really enjoy being part of the process.

"I want to make it clear, I'm not ¡¥running against Bill Shearon.' If I could have run in another ward, I would of. But I did want to throw my hat into the ring."

Shearon, who lives on Gulf Drive, previously served on the city commission and currently serves on the planning and zoning board. He ran for mayor last year against Michael Pierce.

Shearon, who with his partner Tjet Martin runs and resides at the Linger Longer Resort, said he decided to run for office to complete unfinished business from his previous commission term.

"There were a lot of projects that were started but haven't been finished and that's really why I am running again," he said. "When I first ran, it was because I thought there were projects that should be done. Now I think there are projects that should be finished."

Shearon, who is retired from a career as an independent petroleum marketer in the Chicago area, said he wants to bring his business acumen to city hall.

Like Bartelt, he promised a friendly, issues-oriented campaign.

"With both of us running, that means the people have a choice," Shearon said. "In the past, the people haven't had a choice."

Shearon recalled the he has been elected in Bradenton Beach by one vote, his own. "I'm not very proud of that," he said. "People need a choice."

Bradenton Beach Vice Mayor John Chappie currently holds the Ward 4 seat. He decided not to seek re-election at the municipal level and instead is running against incumbent Jane von Hahmann for the District 3 county commission post.

With both Chappie and von Hahmann running as Republicans and no Democratic candidate on the ballot, that election will be decided in the Aug. 26 primary.

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