BRADENTON BEACH – When qualifying ended at noon on Friday, Sept. 1, five candidates qualified to run in the city election that will conclude on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Mayor Bill Shearon and Vice Mayor John Chappie will square off in the mayor’s race.
Incumbent Ward 3 Commissioner Ralph Cole will be challenged by first-time candidate Randy White.
Incumbent Ward 1 Commissioner Jake Spooner will run unopposed, which means he automatically wins a second two-year term in office.
“I truly feel privileged to serve the city of Bradenton Beach for another two years.”
Jake Spooner, City Commissioner
Shearon is seeking his second full term as mayor. He returned to the mayor’s seat in Nov. 2015 after the tied mayor’s race between him and then-mayor Jack Clarke was settled by a tiebreaker that resulted in Shearon pulling a higher playing card than Clarke. Shearon’s first term as mayor was cut short by a special recall election loss in May 2015. Before being elected to his first term as mayor in 2013, Shearon served as a city commissioner.
Because of his resign to run status, John Chappie will vacate his current Ward 4 commission seat after the November election whether he wins or loses his bid for the mayor’s seat. The city commission will then appoint a new Ward 4 commissioner.
Chappie returned to the city commission last November after spending eight years as a Manatee County commissioner. Prior to his County commission tenure, Chappie served multiple terms as Bradenton Beach mayor, preceded by multiple terms as a city commissioner.
Ward 3 race
Cole is seeking his second term in office. As a city commissioner, Cole also chairs the Community Redevelopment Agency. He joined the commission in 2015 when he defeated incumbent commissioner Janie Robertson. He owns and operates the Coastal Watersports beachfront rental business that has a longstanding lease agreement with Angela Rodocker and the Silver Surf resort.
White has lived in Bradenton Beach since 2013. He is a commercial pilot for American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines. He also owns rental properties in Holmes Beach and Tampa.
White has no previous experience serving on a city commission, board or committee. When asked why he’s seeking a commission seat, he said, “To ensure decisions at city hall are first and foremost for the residents’ best interests and by the residents, not by decree.”
Voting in the two contested races will be begin in early October, when vote by mail ballots are sent to voters who request them.
Spooner joined the city commission in 2015 after running unopposed for the Ward 1 seat vacated by Clarke.
When asked about serving a second term, Spooner said, “I truly feel privileged to serve the city of Bradenton Beach for another two years. We have been working on a lot of important issues and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition. I also looked forward to the facing the unknown challenges ahead of us.”