- April 8, 2015
Two new Sarasota city commissioners will be sworn in later this week, as Liz Alpert and Shelli Freeland Eddie defeated incumbent candidates in today's runoff election.
Alpert defeated Eileen Normile by 241 votes, earning 53% of the vote in District 2. Eddie beat Stan Zimmerman for the District 3 seat with 54% of the vote and a 120-vote edge. Normile and Zimmerman were both appointed to fill vacant seats on the commission in November.
Even after she had earned more votes than any other candidate in March’s first election, Alpert was shocked when she got the news that she won.
"I just didn't know," Alpert said. "There just isn't a way to be sure what's going to happen until you see which voters show up on Election Day."
Eddie overcame a 10% deficit in the March election, where she earned just 35.8% of the vote, en route to victory Tuesday. If Eddie’s win came as a surprise to some, she says it didn’t catch her off guard.
"We knew we made sure we took our message to every voter we could find," Eddie said. "I'm just grateful we were able to connect to voters, that they were able to see I was true about wanting to do better, about wanting to be their voice."
In addition to electing two district commissioners, voters citywide approved two city charter amendments. 94% of voters supported a one-year residency requirement for individuals appointed to fill vacancies on the City Commission, and 84% approved language clarifying the signature-gathering process for citizen-led charter amendment petitions. The new requirements state a petition must be filed with the city clerk before signatures are collected, and the 180-day timeframe to collect signatures begins the date the petition is filed.
More than 18% of registered voters cast ballots in the runoff, with 27.5% of District 2 voters participating and 16.7% of voters participating in District 3.
For more on Tuesday's election results, pick up a copy of Thursday's Sarasota Observer.