The race for two open city commission seats did not come to a close as expected on the March 14 election, as no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.
Voters were able to choose two names out of the eight candidates to fill the two open seats, irrespective of district.
The three candidates who received the most votes, Jennifer “Jen” Ahearn-Koch (21.17 percent), Hagen Brody (19.59 percent) and Martin Hyde (14.62 percent), will continue to campaign for a runoff election to be held May 9. The two commissioners elected will begin their terms on May 12.
The seats of current City Commissioners Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman were up for grabs. Chapman chose to run as an incumbent, but did not receive enough votes to advance to the runoff.
Voter turnout for the election was unsurprisingly low and varied greatly across the city, ranging from 8.46 percent in Precinct 123 (the area north of Fruitville Rd. between Lime and Tuttle) to 37.68 percent in Precinct 203, which encompasses most of downtown.
A total of 7,194 ballots were cast, out of 37,579 registered voters in the City of Sarasota. This puts total turnout at 19.14 percent.
Turnout lagged at 9.77 percent for the precinct where most New College students are registered if they live on campus. However, the adjacent precinct – where most off-campus students live – saw a higher 27.37 percent turnout.
Information for this article was gathered from sarasotavotes.com, heraldtribune.com, sarasotagov.org.