Tuesday, October 04, 2005

An Almost Clean Sweep

In a typically light turnout, citizens of Key West turned two sitting Commissioners, including the CIty's Mayor, out of office, set up a run off election between a third incumbent and one of his challengers, and elected to other newcomers to the Commision.

Challenger Morgan McPherson narrowly edged out Mayor Jimmy Weekly, a twenty year incumbent and Mayor for the past six years. Bill Verge defeated incumbent District I Commissioner Tom Oosterhoudt. In District II incumbent Mark Rossi will face a runoff election against George Halloran in early November. Halloran received more votes than any other candidate in his District, but didn't achieve the required 50% + 1 of votes cast.

District III was taken soundly by appliance store owner Dan Kolhage. He will replace Commissioner Ed Scales who didn't stand for reelection. Clayton Lopez beat his challenger, Robert Cobb, comfortably in District VI for the seat of retiring Commissioner Carmen Turner.

Thus, four new Commissioners join incumbents Harry Bethel and José Menendez when they are sworn in on Friday. Either Rossi or Halloran will become the Commission's seventh member in November.

This was a unique election year, with five seats open rather than the usual three, due to the death of Commissioner Mereli McCoy earlier in the year and the retirements of Turner and Scales.

The turnover is likely to bring significant change to the governance of Key West. The four winners share a desire for more balance between the wishes of residents and the aspirations of developers. The Key West Citizen will have more coverage in the morning.

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