Arroyo prevails in District 3, while Battie defeats Shaw
The Sarasota City Commission will have twice as many new members as the County Commission, thanks to the results of the Nov. 3 General Election.
Vice Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie, the District 3 representative, chose not to seek another term. Her successor is Erik “E” Arroyo, who defeated Daniel A. Clermont by taking 51.22% of the votes cast, according to the unofficial results posted by the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office.
The other new city commissioner will be Kyle Scott Battie, who won the District 1 seat, defeating Willie Charles Shaw, who first was elected in 2011. Battie took 53.91% of the votes in that race, according to the unofficial results.
Since he defeated Linda Holland in 2011 — garnering 59.56% of the vote — Shaw had not faced a challenger until this year.
Finally, incumbent Commissioner Liz Alpert was re-elected to the District 2 seat, defeating former City Commissioner Terry Turner. Alpert took 51.54% of the 11,729 votes cast in that contest, as shown by the unofficial results.
That race garnered the biggest participation among city voters, the Supervisor of Elections Office’s unofficial records show. The Arroyo/Clermont contest was second, with 7,128 votes; in the Battie/Shaw race, the unofficial vote tally was 6,446.
Turner won only three of the 10 precincts in District 2, according to the unofficial results. One of them was Precinct 213, which is located at St. Armands Key Lutheran Church. He garnered 530 votes there, to Alpert’s 518. In Precinct 223, Turner won 730 votes to Alpert’s 709. That precinct is located at Southside Baptist Church on Magnolia Street. The third precinct he won — 129 — had fewer than 30 votes, the Supervisor of Elections Office reported. It is located at First Brethern Church of Sarasota on North Shade Avenue.
The only precinct where Shaw prevailed, the unofficial records show, was 115, where he garnered 54.63% of the votes. That precinct is the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, located at 1845 34th St.
Battie’s biggest vote count came in Precinct 207, where he picked up 351 votes to Shaw’s 176. That precinct is located at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium on U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota. Battie nearly doubled Shaw’s vote total in Precinct 209, as well, garnering 256 votes to Shaw’s 133. That precinct is located at the First Presbyterian Church on Oak Street.
Clermont also won a single precinct — 215. It is located at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Bahia Vista Street. Clermont garnered 1,275 votes there, to Arroyo’s 1,186.
This was the first time City Commission races were conducted in the fall. Prior to the success of a 2018 referendum, they were held in the spring.
An initiative called Decide the Date Sarasota, organized in late 2017 and led by former Mayor Suzanne Atwell and 12th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Larry Eger, worked to enact the change. Supporters said they believed more people would participate in the city elections if those contests were conducted in conjunction with the General Election cycle every two years. However, opponents of switching the election dates maintained that city races received more attention on less crowded ballots in the spring.
In 2017 — the last time city elections were held in March, a total of 12,838 ballots were cast for the two at-large seats. In the May runoff, the vote tally was 14,568.
In March 2015, the votes for the District 2 race totaled 3,794. For the District 3 race, the tally was 1,631.
In the May 2015 runoff, Alpert was elected to the District 2 seat, with a total of 4,011 votes cast. Freeland Eddie won the District 3 seat; 6,021 votes were cast in that race.
The City Commission terms, like those on the County Commission, are for four years.
Alpert, Arroyo and Battie will be sworn into office during the City Commission’s statutory meeting scheduled for noon on Friday, Nov. 6, at City Hall, the city announced in a Nov. 3 news release.
That special session also will include the State of the City address and the selection of the mayor and vice mayor.
City Hall is located at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota.