With two months to go before facing each other in a runoff election, District 1 City Commission candidates Willie Shaw and Linda Holland are gearing up for another round of campaigning.
“I’m going to do what I need to do to make sure I’m victorious in May,” said Holland.
Shaw and Holland were the top-two vote-getters out of four District 1 candidates in the March 8 election. Shaw received 414 votes, and Holland got 218 votes.
Although Holland won five of nine precincts, Shaw was never far behind in any one of them. However, Shaw dominated one precinct in particular — Precinct 31, which is in North Sarasota, from 17th Street to Myrtle Street. He received 185 votes there to Holland’s three votes.
Now Shaw and Holland are coming up with their strategies on how to claim the most votes in the May 20 runoff.
Although he’s just now starting to talk strategy with his advisers, Shaw has no plans to ignore Precinct 31, even though he won it handily last week.
“We will be working on getting more (voters) in 31,” he said. “I never take anything for granted. We’re going to try to maintain the voters (we already have).”
Holland also plans to encourage her base to come back out to vote, but she’s also going to try to get more votes out of the Newtown area than she did the first time.
“I’ll be reaching out to areas where I didn’t get a lot of votes in the more northern areas of Sarasota,” she said.
Shaw plans to do the same.
“We will be branching out (to other precincts),” he said.
Catering to the female vote is another way Holland hopes to overcome the large gap in voters. It’s a strategy that Commissioner Suzanne Atwell employed in 2009, when she trailed both Terry Turner and Paul Caragiulo after the general election, but she earned more votes than Caragiulo in the runoff to secure a commission seat.
Fellow District 1 candidate Richard Dorfman has endorsed Holland. Holland will be working to convert his 201 voters from Election Day.
Holland, who is white, said she’s been questioned about whether she can represent black constituents.
“They ask if I can represent people of color, when they’ve already had representation from a person of color,” she said. “Color shouldn’t matter. The value of my 30 years of community service should matter.”
Shaw said although he nearly doubled Holland’s vote total in the general election, he will not take that for granted leading into the runoff.
“I’m too much of a novice to sit there and pat myself on the back,” he said.
To download a PDF of the Election Night totals by precinct for each candidate, click here.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].