For Marco Island and East Naples voters, the selection of a new District One County Commissioner has been one of the major ballot issues which has been a closely watched race on the Republican side of the ticket.
Donna Fiala, who has held that seat for the past 20 years, announced earlier this year that she would not be seeking an unprecedented sixth term in office. That announcement initially created a five-person race on the Republican side. That number dwindled to only three candidates, as Cliff Donenfeld failed to qualify, and Jacob Winge withdrew his candidacy.
That would leave Mark Batchelor, William Douglas and Rick LoCastro vying for that open seat on the Republican side of the ticket.
On the Democratic side, there was only one candidate who ran unopposed for that seat. He would run against the winner of the Republican side of the ballot. That candidate was John D. Jenkins. However, Mr. Jenkins was booked into the Collier County Jail recently on a felony possession charge of a controlled substance.
Should Mr. Jenkins eventually withdraw from the race, the Democratic Committee may substitute a candidate by a September 1st deadline.
On Tuesday evening when the votes were tallied, Rick LoCastro edged out William Douglas by a 202 -vote margin out of a total of 12,053 votes cast. Mark Batchelor seemed to have played a spoiler role, taking away 1705 votes from the two leaders. Final results tallied in this manner.
⬛ Rick LoCastro: 43.8% of vote 5275 votes
⬛ William Douglas: 42.1% of vote 5073 votes
⬛ Mark Batchelor: 14.1% of vote 1705 votes
Sales of Recreational Marijuana Not Desired by Voters
The second issue of interest to Marco Island voters which appeared on the ballot dealt with a referendum question on whether or not to prohibit the sales, cultivating or distribution of recreational marijuana in the City of Marco Island.
That referendum question would carry the day by a large margin of 4039 votes in favor of banning the sales, cultivation or distribution of Recreational Marijuana.
In other hotly contested races, Byron Donalds will face off with Democrat Cindy Banyai in the November general election to replace U.S. Congressman Frances Rooney. Donalds out paced Casey Ascar and Dr.William Figlesthaler in a very heated battle.
Incumbent District 5 County Commissioner Bill McDaniel handily beat back a challenge from Mike Petscher to maintain his seat as a Collier County Commissioner.
In another heated county race Clerk of Courts and County Comptroller Crystal Kinzel handily defeated a challenge from James Molenaar.
Another referendum question which would allow the Collier County School Board some flexibility in funding requirements would also easily pass the voters with an almost 80% margin. The Coastal Breeze News will have a full reporting of all race results on our website. That full story can be found at www.coastalbreezenews.com.