Incumbents Mike Moran and Nancy Detert won districts 1 and 3. Newcomer Ron Cutsinger won District 5 seat after Commissioner Charles Hines reached his term limit.
The County Commission will see two incumbents and one fresh face after Tuesday’s elections.
Mike Moran was re-elected to his District 1 seat. District 3 representative Nancy Detert will retain her seat and Republican Ron Cutsinger will replace Commissioner Charles Hines who reached his term limit for the District 5 seat.
Tuesday’s election marked the first time commission candidates ran in single-member districts in a general election after residents in 2018 voted in favor of the change.
The switch meant that only residents in districts 1, 3 or 5 could vote for the candidate in their district. Previously, every county resident could vote for every county commissioner.
Moran has held his seat in District 1, which encompasses much of east Sarasota, since 2016.
He said winning the election wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteers and supporters he was surrounded by daily and he looks forward to a second term.
“I will continue my work of keeping Sarasota County one of the most desirable places in the country to live,” Moran said. “To those who voted for my opponent, let’s move on and work together to ensure Sarasota County remains the best place to live in the USA.”
Since holding office, Moran has focused on creating careers in the county, adding more affordable housing projects and starting conversations to add a mental health special dependent district in the county.
In his new term Moran previously told The Observer that he would finish the county’s commitment to water and sewer infrastructure overhaul and work to keep the county’s finances strong. On election night, he said he also will work to help residents get back on their feet after COVID-19.
“For 29 years, Sarasota County has conducted a Citizen Survey. The most recent results show that 95% of our residents love living here. I intend to keep it that way,” Moran said. “I also will do everything in my power to get people back to work so they have meaningful income to support their families.”
Mark Pienkos, Moran’s opponent, ran his first campaign for public office in Sarasota County. He hoped to enact policies to protect Sarasota County’s natural resources and land while discouraging large-scale development.
Though he lost, Pienkos said single-member districts gave residents of District 1 the opportunity for a competitive race, and he hopes it continues into the future.
“I think the real winners on this night are the voters,” Pienkos said. “The purpose of single-member districts was to have competitive races and to be able to do it on a smaller turf. I think, quite honestly, we tried our very best to lay out the issues important to people in this district and ultimately let the people decide, and that’s the crucial thing about democracy.”
Though he said he’s unsure about running again because he doesn’t want to build a political career, Pienkos said he will continue to stay involved with the community.
The only new face to the county commission will be Cutsinger, who previously served on the county’s Planning Commission, Library Advisory Board and Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.