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Town Council race will feature seven candidates

January 15, 2020
By NATHAN MAYBERG ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Then there were seven. The Town of Fort Myers Beach Town Council will have seven names on the ballot for three seats when voters go to the polls Tuesday, March 17.

Since the deadline to qualify by petition passed, two more candidates have declared. They include Councilmember Bruce Butcher, who previously announced he would not seek re-election, as well as the town's Marine Resources Task Force Committee Chairman Bill Veach.

Local Planning Agency member and former Indiana state legislator Jim Atterholt along with Forrest Critser, who ran for council in 2017, collected enough certified signatures in December to qualify. Local Planning Agency member Dan Allers, Reflow Plumbing owner David Drumm and attorney Robert Burandt join them on the ballot. The deadline to be certified for the election passed on Jan. 10.

There are two ways candidates can qualify for the ballot: by petition or by paying a filing fee.

Candidates may choose either.

Both Allers and Drumm chose to qualify by petition but ran into issues with Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office over the certification of their petitions. Each said the office rejected the signatures they collected over technical issues which caused them to spend an additional $504 to get on the ballot. Drumm said his signatures were rejected because he marked down no-party affiliation instead of non-partisan on his paperwork. Fort Myers Beach elections are a non-partisan race. Allers said his petition was rejected over how he paid for a $6 check to the office to have the signatures certified.

Butcher, Veach and Burandt each spent the $672 required to get on the ballot via the filing fee method.

Burandt has previously represented Fort Myers Beach as its attorney.

The three seats are for three-year terms.

The seats up for grabs are currently held by outgoing term-limited Mayor Anita Cereceda, Councilmember Joanne Shamp and incumbent council member Butcher.

The three candidates earning the most votes among the seven running will win the seats.

Beach voters also will decide on whether to change the terms of the council members from three years to four years, and if future election dates should be in November instead of March.



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