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Longboat Key Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 1 week ago

Longboat election season off and running

The qualifying period for the three commission seats started in October and runs until 11 a.m. on Nov. 16.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

The presidential election season is coming to a close -- one way or the other -- but the town's election season is just opening.

Qualifying for three seats on the Town Commission up for grabs in March 20201 is underway. As the town continues transitioning to three-year terms, District 2, District 4 and an at-large are due to be on the ballot.

Candidates are required to submit petitions to the Supervisor of Elections in either county no later than 11 a.m. on Nov. 16. The supervisor then verifies the signatures and districts.

"Hopefully, all seeking office will consider getting their paperwork in sooner than later as the Supervisors’ offices may be busy after the November 3rd election and timing is very important,” Town Clerk Trish Shinkle said.

Vice Mayor Mike Haycock, an at-large commissioner, said he is running for re-election. 

District 4 Commissioner Jack Daly is ineligible to run because of term limits.

District 2 Commissioner George Spoll is eligible for one more term, but he hasn't indicated to the Longboat Observer if he will seek re-election.  

Candidates are required to collect 10 signatures for voters in their district. For example, a candidate running for the District 2 seat must get petitions signed by registered voters of District 2. Candidates must also fill out a financial statement, which includes information about their sources of income and property owned. The town also provides candidates a packet of information they need to know, including a calendar, town charter and election laws. No candidate has officially begun the process.

The at-large and District 4 candidates are also encouraged to have petitions signed by voters in one county, even though their district cover Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

“If a candidate gets petitions signed by voters from both counties, they would have to go to both Supervisors’ offices to have petitions verified from each county,” Shinkle said.

Haycock has served on the commission since 2019 and has served as the town’s vice mayor as of March 2020.

“I’d be happy to be vice mayor if the rest of the commissioners think I’m worthy of that,” Haycock said. 

As the town transitions to three-year commission terms, the at-large seat is for a single year term, after which, it will become a three-year term in 2022.

After the March 2021 election, commissioners will hold a statutory meeting to swear in the new commissioners. During the meeting, commissioners also vote on a mayor and vice mayor for the coming year.

As of Monday morning, the town has not issued any candidate packets. The election is set for March 9, 2021.

Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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