Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To runoff or to not runoff? It depends on the race

School Board candidate Julie Aranibar was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s District 3 race, narrowly out-gaining incumbent Jane Pfeilsticker by a margin of 41.4 percent to 40.8 percent. Which means that because neither receive 50 percent plus one of the votes — a third candidate, Albert Yusko, received 17.6 percent — there will be a runoff on Nov. 2.

Republican county commission candidate Robin DiSabatino also didn’t get a majority of the votes in her District 4 race. But when she woke up this morning after a tight battle with two other candidates, she could start thinking not about a runoff against one of her GOP rivals but about a general election race against Democrat Roger C. Galle.

Why the different rules?

Bob Sweatt, Manatee’s supervisor of elections, told Bradenton Herald reporter Beth Burger this morning it’s because the school board election was a nonpartisan race — that is, the candidates did not run with an affiliation with either the Democrats or the Republicans — there has to be a runoff because neither Aranibar nor Pfeilsticker received a majority of the votes.

But under a state law adopted in 2001, partisan primaries, like the county commissionr race, are settled on election day, regardless of whether a candidate gets a majority of the votes.

“That’s just the way the law is set up,” said Sweat, citing Florida statutes - Chapter 100 for partisan races and Chapter 105 for nonpartisan elections.

In the county commission race, DiSabatino received 36.4 percent of the vote, compared to 32.8 percent for Norm Luppino; and 30.7 percent for Tim Norwood.

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