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Sullivan, Sawicki advance in primary

By Staff | Sep 11, 2013

Incumbent John Sullivan took the most votes in Tuesday’s primary mayoral election with nearly 36.86 percent of the vote, an almost 15-point margin over the second-place challenger, Marni Sawicki in the six-way race.

Both advance to the General Election in November.

Sawicki, who works in marketing, received 22.3 percent of the vote and is shooting to become the first female mayor in Cape Coral history.

Sullivan, who spent the evening going from one supporter’s house to another, said he is ready to move on to Nov. 5.

“Onward and upward, and I’m going for the win. I think people appreciate what I do for them and I appreciate what they do for me,” said Sullivan, who is seeking his second term. “The volunteers who got me elected did a great job.”

Sawicki chose Dixie Roadhouse for her celebration headquarters, getting kudos from current council members Lenny Nesta and Kevin McGrail for her second-place finish.

Not bad for someone who came out in spring with almost no name recognition.

“I am excited, I am grateful, and very humbled,” Sawicki said. “We put together a wonderful team that has stayed together the whole time and honestly, they get all the credit.”

Sawicki finished a few percentage points ahead of third-place finisher, former councilman A.J. Boyd, who had 18.76 percent of the vote despite entering the race at the last moment.

“I’m disappointed, but that said, what we did in 42 days was incredible,” Boyd said. “We worked hard. I can’t complain.”

Boyd said he is undecided on who he would lend his support to.

Dan Ashby earned 11.89 percent of the vote to finish fourth. Vince Cummings finished fifth with 8.19 percent of the vote, with David Carr bringing up the rear with 1.84 percent.

As per the city charter, the top two vote getters advance.

For Sullivan and Sawicki, it is on to the general election where Sullivan plans to let his record speak for itself.

“I’m going to run on my record, my reputation and experience,” Sullivan said, not commenting on his opponent. “I’ll keep trying to keep spending and taxes down.”

Sawicki said the pavement pounding will be more intense on her end, while expounding her virtues as a leader and consensus maker.

“We hit the campaign trail even harder and now we have a bigger group of supporters and we’ll get it done,” Sawicki said. “We had five candidates running for one spot, so we’ll all come together. I’m a better leader and will be able to unite the council and move the city forward.”

Voter turnout was less than 8 percent.

Both primary candidates agreed that was unacceptable, but were hopeful more voters will show up in November when four city council seats will be on the ballot – the runoff for the mayor’s seat, a runoff for the District 1 council seat, and the General Election races for Districts 4 and 6.

“It’s disappointing. I wish more would have gone to vote. Hopefully, they’ll come out in the general election and help us then,” Sullivan said.

“There hasn’t been a lot of coverage of this election. You don’t know it’s there if you don’t say anything,” Sawicki said. “It’s very disappointing.”

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington was not available for comment Tuesday night.