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Candidate withdraws from Longboat election after deadline

Now with three in running for three seats, another uncontested campaign for March's Town Commission election is coming n 2023.

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  • | 12:50 p.m. November 25, 2022
  • Longboat Key
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Longboat Key’s March elections for Town Commission are back to being an uncontested campaign now that one of the candidates from District 1 alerted town officials he was withdrawing.

In an email to Town Clerk Trish Shinkle, Jeff Lenobel on Friday Nov. 25 indicated he was withdrawing from consideration as a candidate. 

“Please take notice that this is my formal notice that I have withdrawn as a candidate for the Town Commission - District 1,’’ he wrote. “Thank you for all of your assistance during the past few weeks. I was extremely impressed with the professionalism and efficiency of everyone in Town Hall.”

Barring any other changes in the election lineup, Planning and Zoning Board member Gary Coffin will run unopposed for District 1, Deborah Murphy will run unopposed for District 5 and incumbent Ken Schneier will run unopposed for District 3.

With nothing else on the immediate horizon for inclusion on the March ballot, and an early-December deadline to add anything to the ballot, the town could save between $10,000 and $20,000 by not holding an election.

Coffin almost didn’t himself seek to run when he saw that Lenobel, son of former Mayor Hal Lenobel, had entered the race, telling the Longboat Observer recently that he was urged to reconsider after his initial leanings to stay out of the race were published.

Coffin said he was “pounced on” with calls from friends and neighbors urging him to run.

“I feel like my time on the (Planning and Zoning Board) is critical to the knowledge I would need to serve on the commission,” he said.

Coffin was appointed to his seat on the Planning and Zoning board in December 2020. The board has a history on the barrier island for serving as a pipeline to a seat on the commission.

Sherry Dominick, representing District 1, and Maureen Merrigan, representing District 5, decided against running for reelection, citing family and professional commitments.

The deadline for qualifying for elections was noon Nov. 21.

The last time an election was contested was in 2018. Since that March over four years ago, when Ed Zunz, Ken Schneier and Irwin Pastor won contested Town Commission races against Randy Langley, John Weber and Jack Wilson. In that election, Zunz’s victory was the closest at 55% of 1,752 votes cast over Langley.

 Schneier defeated Weber with 69% of the vote and Pastor won with 75% of the vote.


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