LAKEWOOD RANCH — The race for the Manatee County School Board District 3 seat — the most hotly contested race in Tuesday’s primary — will continue for another two-and-one-half months.
After all precincts were reported, Lakewood Ranch resident Julie Aranibar, the challenger, held the slimmest of margins over incumbent Jane Pfeilsticker — 245 votes.
Because neither candidate garnered 51% of votes, the race will continue in a run-off in November’s general election.
Surrounded by friends and supporters at The Polo Grill and Bar in Lakewood Ranch Tuesday night, Aranibar said she couldn’t have gotten this far without their help.
“You can’t win elections and not be grateful for the people who helped get you there,” she said. “We’ll be starting again, and I’d ask people within the community who have not met me to call and get to know us.”
Aranibar is running her campaign on the concept of putting the children and teachers first and also ensuring the school district is financially responsible.
In 2004, Aranibar ran as an independent for the Manatee County Commission District 5 seat but lost to current commission Chair Donna Hayes.
If Aranibar wins in November, she will join District 5 winner Karen Carpenter as a new face on the board. Carpenter beat opponent Jennifer Radebach 21,979 to 19,965.
Barbara Harvey will keep her seat on the board, winning the primary over challenger David Bailey 23,080 to 20,708.
Florida House District 67
East County resident Greg Steube won the county’s nod as the Republican candidate for the Florida House of Representatives District 67 seat by a considerable margin. His 8,831 votes in Manatee easily placed him above Jeremiah Guccione (4,173) and Bob McCann (2,317) — both also East County residents.
Like Aranibar, Steube celebrated his victory at The Polo Grill.
“It’s been a long two years, and it’s rewarding to know all the hard work of volunteers and supporters has paid off,” Steube said. “I’m proud of the positive campaign we have run, and obviously the voters responded positively to the message.”
Steube now will face Democrat Z.J. Hafeez in November’s general election.
Manatee County Commission
Challenger Michael Gallen upset incumbent Gwen Brown for the District 2 seat. His 3,606 votes translated to 56.1% of voters, compared to Brown’s 2,845. Gallen, a Democrat, will assume the seat because no Republican candidate entered the race.
Robin DiSabatino, a Realtor at Michael Saunders & Company’s Lakewood Ranch office, also celebrated a narrow victory as the District 4 Republican nominee. DiSabatino (1,624 votes) defeated longtime county planning manager Norm Luppino (1,462) and Tim Norwood (1,370). DiSabatino will face Democrat Roger Galle in the general election. The seat is being vacated by Republican Ron Getman.