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Donnell retains District 7 seat

By Staff | Nov 9, 2011

Cape Coral Councilmember Derrick Donnell squeaked by his challenger in Tuesday night’s general election to hold onto the District 7 seat.

Donnell garnered 51 percent of the total ballots cast with 8,196 votes. Challenger Dave Stokes took 49 percent of the ballots with 7,765 votes.

“I’m always humbled and I’m thankful, but this time I add I’m shocked,” Donnell said. “It’s been a tough election season.”

He explained that today’s philosophy, even in national politics, tends to be “throw them out and start over,” giving incumbents a huge hill to climb.

“God works in mysterious ways,” Donnell said, adding that he is thankful to everyone who had the faith and confidence in him to re-elect him.

Stokes thanked Donnell for “running a gentleman’s campaign based on issues,” and he thanked those who supported him and his campaign.

“Do not be sad for me,” he said. “I am glad there will be new positive leadership for Cape Coral.”

He congratulated Donnell and the winners of the other races.

“He is a positive man who will do well for Cape Coral,” Stokes said his opponent.

Donnell was the only incumbent out of three to hold onto his seat Tuesday. District 2 Councilmember Pete Brandt lost to challenger John Carioscia, while District 3 Councilmember Bill Deile was beaten by challenger Lenny Nesta Jr.

“Positive campaigns produced winning results in the (District) 2 and 3 races,” Stokes said of the other incumbents being unseated.

“I feel like the city couldn’t lose in District 7,” he added.

Donnell cited some priorities for the city over the next few years.

“We have to get a handle on two things,” he said.

One point is the suspended utilities expansion project. Donnell said the city needs to get a plan together, put it in place and keep residents informed.

He cited the city’s property tax rate as another priority.

“We need to make sure we set our city services accordingly,” Donnell said, adding that the city should then talk revenue and match it to the services.

He noted that he would continue to work hard to stay positive and stay professional and push the city council forward in working together.

“One of the things that has been very clear to me is the residents are very tired of the negativity and disrespect,” Donnell said.

The general election results are unofficial until certified.