Christenson withdraws from commission race

HOLMES BEACH – The commission race has come to an unexpectedly early end with Commissioner Jayne Christen- son announcing her withdrawal ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Christenson was running for re-election against political newcomers Dan Diggins and Greg Kerchner. She was first elected to the city commission in November 2020. She announced her intent to withdraw her candidacy during commission comments at the end of an Oct. 11 meeting.

Jayne Christenson

“With the support of my family and friends, I have made the decision to not seek re-election as a city commissioner in Holmes Beach in the election on Nov. 8, 2022,” she said, reading from a prepared statement.

“This has been a difficult decision based on many factors, most importantly being my work/life balance. I have a demanding job in the bio-pharmaceutical research and manufacturing industry and have recently taken on even more people management and multi-million dollar budget responsibility which requires extensive travel, limiting the time I have to dedicate to the city.”

With Commissioner Kim Rash also not seeking re-election, that leaves two seats open on the city commission and only two remaining candidates qualified by the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, Diggins and Kerchner.

Greg Kerchner

Despite Christenson’s statement that she would contact the elections office to have her name removed from the ballot, mail-in ballots have already been distributed. The city is home to 2,685 registered voters. Of those, 138 have already cast their ballots as of Oct. 16, according to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Dan Diggins

Diggins retired to Holmes Beach with his wife in 2011 after a career in aviation. This will be his first time holding an office in the city.

Kerchner is no stranger to the inner workings of the city, having served for several years on the city’s planning commission. He’s currently the planning commission chair, a position he will have to resign before being sworn in as a city commissioner.

Mayor Judy Titsworth ran unopposed for her second and now third terms in office. She will be sworn in for another two-year term in November.

In-person voting will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive